A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 160 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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The Pandemic as a Catalyst for Sustainable Development through the Incorporation of ESG Principles
3 June 2021
17:00—18:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
The pandemic not only showed just how mature Russian companies are in terms of ESG, but also the human face of managers

If we are talking about the assistance that business provided to both the healthcare authorities and their employees, this likely shows the maturity of managers and entrepreneurs to a greater extent — Nikolay Nikolaev, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations .

It has become obvious that we are doing little or not enough for the population. [...] All business initiatives have been aimed at cities and city residents — Andrey Guryev, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Management Board, PhosAgro .

The climate agenda is the most important aspect of sustainable development

The climate agenda stands apart and I believe it should be separated from the overall ESG rating, since the urgency and critical significance of changes in this area is incomparable with the rest of this movement — Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer, Polyus.

All the projects that they [metallurgical holdings] are pushing and have been pushing forward in recent years are all geared towards the environment and reducing emissions. […] This is precisely what everyone is working on because it’s impossible to abandon the traditional method of steelmaking overnight. [...] Russia is at the forefront of the agenda today. I’m referring to the whole story related to the direct reduction of iron, DRI, and HBI — Nazim Efendiev, General Director, Management Company Metalloinvest.

ESG is not charity, but investment

We have lots of major systemic social projects. [...] We are not only educating our own staff who will have to work in our enterprise, but also investing [...] in agronomists and agricultural technolo-gies, which will enable us to use today’s sustainable agriculture technologies in five years. Huge investments are also being made in the environment. We have modernized all enterprises. We practically don’t discharge anything from factories […] into the water. We have adopted a climate strategy […] to reduce the carbon footprint by 14%. We will provide our enterprises with 20% green electricity — Andrey Guryev, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Management Board, PhosAgro .

If you actually think about it, we have been engaged in sustainable development for a long time; it was simply called social issues. We care about people, education, the environment, cities, and medicine – these are all elements of sustainable development. [...] Any manager, shareholder, or entrepreneur who is more or less responsible concedes that without investing in people, the envi-ronment, and the life of our cities, we have no future, and business has no future — Nazim Efendiev, General Director, Management Company Metalloinvest.

The issue of ESG is inevitably [emerging] on the agenda. And this is dictated not only by the aspira-tions of individual activists, but also by the policy that investment funds and banks have been pur-suing recently. [...] In Russia, there is fertile ground for this trend — Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer, Polyus.

ESG problems are complex: poorly considered solutions to environmental problems can lead to social disasters

ESG is not only about E, it’s also about S. We have 500,000 people in the country [...] who in one way or another are connected with this [coal] industry. The environment, sure, we fully support it, but we must remember that the country, the bank, and the state also have their own interests, and we need […] to defend and protect them — Dmitry Snesar, Senior Vice President, Head of Client Coverage, VTB.

ISSUES
Some businesses only pay lip service to observing ESG principles

If we are talking about sustainable development, the vast majority of Russian business has not yet started or thought about it. [...] Even the companies that are now very openly declaring their commitment to ESG can simultaneously lobby for amendments to the legislation that are not con-nected with ESG in any way — Nikolay Nikolaev, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations .

[…] Out of 50,704 companies, more than half of them don’t set targets or have such a KPI as car-bon neutrality by 2050, and those of them that declare […] such a target is actually very cunning, since most of them, in particular, mining companies, likely will cease to exist by 2050 due to the life expectancy of their assets — Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer, Polyus.

Sustainability ratings don't always reflect reality

We see a huge number of ratings, assessments, presentation of letters, awards, and nominations, and certain achievements, and we don’t understand where they are coming from. […] I’m ready to publish anti-rating starting next month. We will post all the information. We record dozens of viola-tions each day — Svetlana Radionova, Head, Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources.

The high cost of solving the problem of digital inequality in Russia

Russia basically has the cheapest communications in the whole world. […] Eighty percent of the population are Internet users. […] But this probably doesn’t make things any easier for the 20% who don’t use the Internet. […] The process of eliminating the digital gap is economically loaded. […] Building […] a base station in a village where 20 people live is a major loss for a company for a long time. That’s why the whole world needs to fight this — Vyacheslav Nikolaev, President, Chairman of the Management Board, MTS.

Difficulty in assessing the degree of environmental impact of manufacturing

For some reason, everyone has decided that the extractive industries are dirty industries. Do you think the avocado [industry] that left entire regions of Mexico without water is a clean industry or a dirty industry? [...] Taxonomy should be applied to everything, and not to just one thing — Dmitry Snesar, Senior Vice President, Head of Client Coverage, VTB.

SMEs see no point or opportunities in observing sustainable development principles

As for medium-sized businesses, and even more so small ones [...] this understanding is at a rather low level to say the least — Yuri Levin, Rector, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO.

SOLUTIONS
Increase information transparency

We need to understand that, unlike previous trends, ESG is a system, and you can’t just do it with PR. I think it’s important for everyone to realize here that now it’s no longer possible to sugarcoat it. […] One of the key factors, including in terms of public administration, is the transparency of in-formation. [...] We are already trying to do this at the legislative level, although it’s not easy: there are no such supporters of openness — Nikolay Nikolaev, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations .

Inspectors will advise on compliance with environmental legislation

You now have the opportunity to hold legal consultations with us. You have the opportunity to conduct a self-examination and make a declaration to us, a real self-examination. [...] Your ‘Po-temkin village’ will no longer suit anyone if you suddenly plan to make one — Svetlana Radionova, Head, Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources.

Create an ecological database and teach businesses to use it

The role of the government is to create a centralized repository or environmental databases. But […] this is not enough. Because the technologies needed to use this data are still expensive. And technologies are needed, resources are needed, and […] tools are needed to give medium-sized and small businesses access to the use of this data. In this [regard], the role of the state and big business is important. […] Data and technologies are scarce. We truly need people who can help develop new strategies using these digital technologies. […] The School of Management SKOL-KOVO trains […] functional leaders who can become leaders on the ESG agenda in their organiza-tions — Yuri Levin, Rector, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO.