DTEK is the largest private energy company in Ukraine whose industrial assets were built and developed in the Soviet era. The Soviet heritage of the company included a significant social component consisting of kindergartens, utilities, roads, schools, hospitals and houses. In Soviet times, these social assets were traditionally built, funded and managed by industrial enterprises rather than by the local authorities. Following years of crisis and transition, DTEK faced two challenges: The company needed to transfer the responsibility for the assets which did not relate to the energy business to the local authorities. Also, to fulfill its corporate responsibility, the company had to ensure that the quality of people’s lives in the regions where DTEK enterprises were located was constantly improving. To meet those challenges, DTEK initiated and signed a Declaration of Social Partnership with 19 cities and four regional centres. It also created the Steering Committee for Social Partnership, consisting of company directors and local authorities, to identify local needs and development objectives. The Steering Committee prioritized the issues and developed the relevant project ideas to resolve them. Through mutual efforts, five main sectors of action were identified:
• Energy efficiency in the communal sector
• Socially important infrastructure
• Business environment development
• Education, culture and sport
As a result of this joint collaboration, DTEK has managed to build a constructive dialogue with local authorities, to enhance their understanding of societal needs and aspirations and has invested US$ 12 million in the development of local communities over the past four years. The majority of projects supported over the past two years were predominantly focused on energy efficiency but also on healthcare and infrastructure: implementation of energy audits, development of energy plans, refurbishment of buildings, replacement of boilers, roof repairs; purchase of modern medical equipment for hospitals, reconstruction of stadiums and cultural facilities and development of telemedicine.
The success of previous DTEK interventions and the need to engage local governments in a more comprehensive, results-oriented and long-term planning manner has prompted a new approach to cooperation and joint activities with the local communities and development strategy for 2013-2015.