In Ukraine, a new type of raiding is gaining popularity – environmental. The tool is used in corporate wars, it is often adopted by the policy. Cleverly using the gaps in the legislation, environmental organizations and activists commissioned by politicians or specific commercial companies are successfully trying to stop enterprises and block the implementation of new projects. Their work with public opinion is very often win-win: the population reacts sharply, since environmental issues in their minds are connected with the basic need for security.

In early July, the heads of 16 specialized associations of Ukraine signed a memorandum on the provision of reliable information in the field of ecology. Among the signatories: Professional Association of Ecologist of Ukraine; Association of Hazardous Waste Management Enterprises; Bioenergy Association of Ukraine; Ukrainian Wind Energy Association; Association of Solar Energy of Ukraine and others. Representatives of the associations came together to oppose a new type of raiding – manipulations on the topic of ecology, which have recently become a popular tool of blackmail, the destruction of competitors, stopping new investment projects.

Ecological “raiding”

It’s no secret that ecology is often used as an instrument of influence on either a business or a political competitor, said the head of the Association of Hazardous Waste Management Enterprises Kirill Kosourov. According to him, the facts are known when the theme of ecology was used in the competition: “There are environmental organizations that seem to be ecological, but operate on request and in the interests of certain business structures.” Recently, environmental activists set an audit on one of the large enterprises that is actually engaged in ecological practice, including the disposal of hazardous waste. The company was forced to suspend its work, incur additional costs.

“Cases when a company, having received all the necessary expert opinions, including environmental ones, begins to implement the project, but here there were ecologists and environmental activists who disputed them, they were not uncommon. Often this became the reason for stopping the process of implementing new projects. Moreover, the results of existing such authoritative organizations as the EBRD or IFC later confirmed the expertise of investors. When checking projects, they often did not find such gross violations that environmental organizations insisted on, ” Hall Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association Andriy Konechenkov. According to him, a detailed study of such cases revealed that often opponents – environmental organizations built arguments based on information from the Internet, openly used fake information.

Often, the blocking of projects organized by ecologists and environmental activists coincides with the reluctance of a particular local business to develop a project, said the head of the board of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association. He cited the example of Borzhava, where an investor from Turkey embarked on a project to build a wind power station. Now the project is temporarily blocked, several lawsuits are being conducted against it. “Despite the fact that the Ministry of Ecology confirmed that a wind farm can be built in this place, the project can really stop and the wind farm will not be built,” Konechenkov noted. Very often, on the ground, environmentalists bully people even before the start of the project. Renewable energy is said to be damaging to wildlife and humans, although it is rightly considered the cleanest in the world, he added.

Environmental blackmail and raiding is often used by politicians as well. “A lot of parties, having monitored the opinions of certain groups of the electorate, start playing on the topic of environmental control or start environmental projects. This is done only to get the votes of voters who are concerned about a particular environmental problem, not at all in order to achieve real changes. This is populism, “said Kirill Kosourov.

“Aspects of environmental impact, environmental issues often serve as a tool in corporate wars of commercial companies. Specialists hired by one side defend one point of view, the opposite – the other. This is all done subtly, beautifully. As in the practice of lawyers who find arguments even for protecting people whose crime draws a life sentence, “said Vyacheslav Potapenko, co-founder of the Institute for Green Economy public organization. He added that often the vision of environmental experts is not based on real facts, but on the need to justify the customer’s position.

In 2015, the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk even canceled inspections of the environmental inspection as a factor of pressure on the business, says Potapenko. It is worth noting that, according to experts, such a decision is also quite controversial. The situation cannot be approached one-sidedly, Kosourov emphasized: “We should not forget that there are irresponsible businesses. In particular, in the field of waste management, it is not uncommon when an enterprise, having received funds for the disposal of hazardous waste, can take them to a landfill under the guise of ordinary or worse, generally burying them somewhere in the forest. Business also manipulates environmental issues to its advantage. ”

Why is this possible?

The phenomena of environmental raiding and blackmail take place due to the lack of methods that must be approved at the level of the law. Also, due to the lack of activity of the Ministry of Ecology, which is not making efforts to maintain the investment climate, Konechenkov noted. “Moreover, in order to start a war on ecological grounds, it’s not even necessary to unite a group of people – it’s enough to find an individual living not far from the target of the attack. A person begins to write appeals to the Ministry of Ecology or to the head of the environmental inspection, and most often to the Cabinet of Ministers, indicating which the enterprise does harm to it. This is the basis for a mandatory, unscheduled inspection, “says Kosourov. According to him, no one will even check whether the applicant has a professional environmental education, on the basis of which he made his conclusions. During attacks on large enterprises, large-scale campaigns are being conducted, media and bloggers, opinion leaders are connecting.

With the right approach, all this has a serious effect. “People, in principle, are subject to manipulation. As a rule, most people read only the first line without reading the information to the end. They have a certain emotion, and then they act in accordance with it. As a rule, people do not feel responsibility for themselves or for another people, and they shift it to someone. Mostly the choice of people of Slavic origin is motivated by emotion. A person reads the first line and does not think anymore. But at the same time in his decisions he is guided by the first emotion that arose when he read People defend a point of view that they think is their own. But in fact, often it’s not their point of view, but cleverly planted by professional manipulators, “said Natalia Kuhtina, psychologist, member of the European Professional Psychotherapeutic League, This feature of the human psyche is often used by politicians, environmentalists, and pharmaceutical companies to achieve their goals, she added.

“It often happens that the heading of an informational message published in the media contains information that, when reading the entire text, appears to reflect a slightly different content,” agrees the head of the Solar Energy Association of Ukraine Yuriy Favorsky, who previously commented to Unian spoke of serious concern that manipulations on the environmental topic could continue after the election. “The topic of buckwheat was not only for the elections, it remains after, but it can be in the form of semolina. Under far-fetched environmental issues, it is possible to take certain actions after the elections that lead to lobbying of some business interests in political circles. Therefore I think that before the election, and during the election, and after it can be used, “Favorsky said.

How to deal with this?

Having united, professional associations hope to resist environmental manipulations and give objective assessments for each case. “Our goal is to create a platform not only for representatives of a respectable business, but also for professional ecologists. We gather as many experts from different industries as possible in order to analyze each case, each case in detail. Ecology is the same exact science as mathematics Therefore, the more experts will be involved in the discussion of a specific issue, the more likely they are to give an objective conclusion, “Kosourov said

Favorsky emphasized the need to involve professionals in the assessment: “If a person has an environmental education that confirms his right to make expert opinions and carry out certification, then this person has the right to make statements. It is advisable that the conclusions of experts be based on education and experience, and not on desire fulfill the political order, all the more supported by financial remuneration, We joined the memorandum, as we support the idea that the conclusions of experts, including in the field of environmental Ecologists should be professional, public and objective. ”

Environmental manipulations work well and resonate with people, as most Ukrainians are seriously concerned about this topic, experts say. “In everyday everyday life, Ukrainians play a significant role in environmental issues. It is very important for people that garbage should be removed from their territory, there should be a pond, a green area, clean air for their children. Most of them are of no small importance what quality of water they drink, what kind of window their dwellings, ”said Vyacheslav Potapenko, co-founder of the Institute for Green Economy public organization.

All environmental topics are a contour of our safety, Natalia Kukhtina emphasized. “Our security – the need for security – is a basic human need. We are born with a need for security and we live with it. This need is recorded in a person at the genetic level. Everything that affects our security causes people to have very strong emotions, a sense of fear “And then everything happens under the banner – to go, fight, counteract. If they also give UAH 100-200 for this, it strengthens the feeling of security regarding the paradigm on which the person is on the side.”

Elena Golubeva

A source