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 159 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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Russia–Finland
3 June 2021
09:00—10:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
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For people, environmental problems in their neighbourhoods, or their country houses, or anywhere else rank very high. Over 60% believe that environmental protection is among top priorities. Russia now uses quality of life as a term, which has never existed here before. It is Finland that has always cared about quality of life, while Russia never has. Now it does. We are pretty much starting our work with solid waste from scratch, because we need to do many things at the same time. Take separate waste collection. Recycling would be absolutely impossible without it. <...> Yet, we understand that as much as we want to keep up with Western Europe in terms of recycling, there is still the issue of non-recyclables. <...> Thus, here [come, – Ed.] waste incineration plants — Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

I would like to share a strategic approach. In Finland, we do not launch any projects, unless there is private business involved. If private businesses do not commit to this idea, it will not work out. This is my message for everyone. You need a comprehensive system-based approach — Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of the Finland Republic.

What is it that Finnish companies can give Russian waste treatment market? It is definitely functioning technologies. It is definitely our experience in waste-to-energy. Managing non-recyclables and reducing CO2 emissions both in energy and cement industries are the key things the Russian Environmental Operator and the country’s regional operators need to focus on — Rostislav Baskakov, Director for Sales and Business Development, Solid Environmental Technologies Oy.

ISSUES
Limited impact of regulation

Former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment once said: “Mr Aho, we have done everything we could in regulation and have reached our limits. The only way to save the world is to turn it into a good business”. This is a very important message: now we are transitioning to the world, where saving it becomes the most sustainable business. We are witnessing profound change. <...> For example, in wind energy. Nobody could have imagined that by 2021 wind energy would account for 10% of our total energy volumes. The growth rate will be even higher in two years. All of it was achieved with no government subsidies — Esko Aho, Prime Minister of Finland (1991–1995); Senior Adviser, East Office of Finnish Industries.

Different approaches to waste treatment

Recently, I have read that in Russia only a third of all waste is collected separately, with only 10% recycled. <...> These numbers for Finland are different. Finnish companies operating in Russia recycle over 90% of their waste — Esko Aho, Prime Minister of Finland (1991–1995); Senior Adviser, East Office of Finnish Industries.

Nowadays, Finland processes a little over 95%. The rest is non-recyclables that get buried. At the same time, Finland boasts one of the highest recycling rates – over 50% — Denis Butsayev, General Director, Russian Environmental Operator Public Law Company.

SOLUTIONS
Using best practices to achieve sustainable development

We can use two methods to achieve our final goal, which is sustainability. One of them is fairly simple and requires lower costs. It is using best practices. This is a fantastic method. In Finland, we introduced a lot of things and best practices we saw in Sweden. We applied them with a low risk and high efficiency. <...> In addition to this, there is a need for innovation. We need to take risks upon us and try to come up with new solutions. I believe that Finland and Russia can unlock a huge potential here — Esko Aho, Prime Minister of Finland (1991–1995); Senior Adviser, East Office of Finnish Industries.

Experience in providing economic incentives to boost the demand for recyclables is extremely important. Motivation evidently includes both carrot and stick. However, Finland focused on carrot and helped the system keep recyclables cheaper than primary raw materials. It took two aspects. First of all, prices for primary raw materials have been controlled at processing plants. Secondly, the environmental fee system really helped. These fees were used to compensate for the recycling costs the companies bear. This is what we will have to do now — Denis Butsayev, General Director, Russian Environmental Operator Public Law Company.

The need for regulation

We look at companies and corporations. They face both obstacles and elements that push them toward sustainability. Regulation is very important, as companies should understand that it is in place. But regulation needs to be smart and motivate companies both to follow the lead and create something new — Esko Aho, Prime Minister of Finland (1991–1995); Senior Adviser, East Office of Finnish Industries.

Energy industry has always been intertwined with politics and will always remain this way. It will always be regulated at different levels, which is good. At the beginning of his speech, Mr Aho said that we needed a smart regulation that would use market powers. Let’s take climate change. You will not be able to reduce the effect of the climate change without the market. We need to use market mechanisms — Esa Antero Hyvarinen, Head of CEO Office, Fortum Corporation.

If we address legislative initiatives and regulation, I am convinced that the Russian market offers enormous opportunities for investment, services and goods Finnish companies could use. However, further export takes regulation, which needs to be as consistent with the global and European regulation as possible. It refers to the energy industry, digitalization, telecommunications, forestry – the whole chain — Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of the Finland Republic.

Input of digitalization

We cooperate with community in Russia in order to develop digitalization, digital transformation, which will have to contribute to reducing emissions and will have a positive impact on the environment. We are working with [School of Management, – Ed.] SKOLKOVO to help Nokia offer its innovative solutions. This is likely to ensure a stronger environmental protection — Demetrio Russo, Vice President for East Europe, Nokia Corporation .

5G is changing the world <...> and opening up enormous opportunities for Finland and Russia in terms of Arctic exploration, ports, energy, and transport. Finland has amended its 5G law and added provisions on vendor’s neutrality and trust. This is our message for the global audience. Rules of the game need to be the same for everyone. In this case, we will be able to develop services and build a profitable business. But if the rules of the game are not balanced out and do not ensure equality, if there is no trust, global investment will not be possible — Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of the Finland Republic.

Changing attitude to ESG

Environment Social Governance. This is an important topic, which is now appearing in Russia too – I can assure you. More and more Russian companies and banks join it. I chair the Supervisory Council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. It recently became known thanks to vaccines and their export to international markets. But actually, we mainly attract direct investment to Russia, and we already pay attention to the ESG of the companies that come to us — Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

Ethics is the basic concept of ESG. We can talk about that. Indeed, I read a lot about ethics, <...> and naturally I am interested in certain aspects of Russian culture, including ethics. Researchers note that Russian culture has various attitudes. Falsehood is one of the examples. <...> As they say, the practice of double standards is applied to both the wide circle or official relations and close circle or relations with the near and dear ones. It was assumed that one would lie within the wide circle. When one lied to authorities, it was never frowned upon or considered shameful. It has always been a way of surviving under the given circumstances. <...> At the same time, lying to your close kin has always been viewed as misconduct in Russian culture. It refers both to one’s family and business partners. It led to the following concept of a successful business in Russia or with Russian partners: you need to go from official to personal. You need to be associated with close circle and partners instead of wide circle, authorities, coercion, and administrative relations. Then people will treat you most sincerely. Now research says there is a cultural convergence on one hand and a huge gap within one culture on the other. For example, if you compare the traditional Russian culture to the culture of managers (i.e. the same social strata across different countries), Russian managers will be more like European ones than other Russians from other social strata — Andrei Sharonov, President, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO .

As for environmental protection, we do have ESG investors that do not just expect we will follow the regulation and the concept. They expect us to follow certain principles regardless of the country we work in. There is a certain pressure on companies in this regard — Esko Aho, Prime Minister of Finland (1991–1995); Senior Adviser, East Office of Finnish Industries.

Transitioning to alternative energy sources

The key issue is CO2 emissions. All vessels should comply with certain regulatory standards. It all started with emission entrapment. Then they started using natural gas as fuel for piston engines. For the last 60 years, Russia has been developing a unique technology – nuclear energy. Civil and military vessels use quite a few nuclear reactors, which brings us the issue of safety. On the one hand, I believe this technology is among the most environment friendly, as it results in zero emissions. <...> This is probably one of the safest ways to deliver electricity and heat to coastal areas. If something happens, this plant can be taken further into the ocean, and everybody will remain safe — Alexey Rakhmanov, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, United Shipbuilding Corporation.

Nuclear energy is important for two reasons. We have been talking about Finnish investment and technologies, as well as transferring them to Russia. However, there is a reverse case – Hanhikivi Nuclear Power Plant. This is Russia’s largest investment in Finland. It is a huge investment. I would like this power plant to be completed as soon as possible, now that the other day the European Union acknowledged nuclear energy as clean energy. It means it falls under all other concepts, including renewable energy sources – hydrogen, wind, solar, and tidal. Nuclear energy is now among them — Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

Today, natural gas is a global business. Hydrogen will also become a global business. Maybe hydrogen will be produced in the vicinity of the customer. This product needs to be generated in places where it will be used, while there is no infrastructure. Developing infrastructure and markets takes bold actions – it will help us use all ways of producing and selling hydrogen. Some are talking about the green technology. We need to develop the market regardless of colours. Then we will have infrastructure, and we will be able to switch to discussing the ways of using hydrogen and reducing CO2 emissions. As for developing it, I believe hydrogen and electricity will be moving forward hand in hand. This cross-sectoral aspect will be playing a greater role in developing this segment in general — Esa Antero Hyvarinen, Head of CEO Office, Fortum Corporation.