MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation Digest #16

MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation Digest #16

19 July 2023

This special issue of the MCUR Digest focuses on the events of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) which were related to the implementation of low-carbon development agenda, ESG transformation, closed-loop economy and environmental issues.

MCUR (MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation) Digest is a regular information source accumulating the main Russian and world news related to sustainable development and ESG transformation, responsible finance and climate agenda. The originals of the news are available via active links in the text.

“Economics of Climate Change: Carbon Market as an Innovative Mechanism for Non-Budgetary Financing of Socially Significant Projects” business breakfast

In partnership with Gazprombank

Elena Borisenko, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Gazprombank was the moderator of the event. In her opening speech, she noted that it was in 1971 at an international conference in Leningrad that professor Mikhail Budyko first predicted that the Earth would get warmer in the 21st century. His forecast is coming true now. Ilya Torosov, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Economic Development, also spoke at the event, focusing on the results and further plans of adaptation to climate change in Russia. Governors of a number of Russian regions, in particular Vologda, Leningrad Oblasts and Krasnoyarsk Krai, noted that low-carbon development is one of the development priorities for their regions.

Watch the broadcast in full: Economics of Climate Change: Carbon Market as an Innovative Mechanism for Non-Budgetary Financing of Socially Significant Projects – at Roscongress Information and Analytical System website (

The MGIMO SDG/ESG library offers the following materials on the issues discussed at the business breakfast:

  • Selected works of Mikhail I. Budyko. The collection contains selected works of Mikhail I. Budyko, a Soviet and Russian climatologist, one of the founders of physical climatology. He was a pioneer in global climate research. In his works he considered the state of physical climatology, assessed the climate conditions of the late twentieth century and highlighted the possible significant impact of human activity on climate.
  • An overview of Russian practices of low-carbon development and adaptation to climate change. Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has assessed the level of low-carbon transformation of various sectors of the country’s economy and analyzed the decarbonization practices of Russian companies in branches like energy, agriculture, land use, forest management, metallurgy and transport. The review also provides a summary of policy measures in the field of adaptation to climate change.

“The Way to Recycling: from Waste to Resources” session

In partnership with the Russian Environmental Operator

According to statistics, more than 80 percent of the world’s consumer goods end up in dumpsters within only 6 months from the date of production. In Russia, the new waste management model is being created, which will reflect not only the geographical, climatic, ecological and landscape specifics of various regions, but also experience from the past, i.e., the Soviet expertise. What has already been done and what needs to be done to finish the reform? How does the government help businesses to implement the new principles of waste management? What infrastructure is needed to turn waste into resources?

The session was attended by:

Andrey Sharonov, CEO of the National ESG Alliance;

Victoria Abramchenko, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister;

Denis Butsaev, General Director of the Russian Environmental Operator;

Kang Zo, Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations of Myanmar;

Mikhail Karisalov, Chairman of the Management Board of SIBUR;

Vitaly Korolev, Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia;

Evgeny Mikhailov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ecoline Group.

Watch the broadcast in full: The Way to Recycling: from Waste to Resources – at Roscongress Information and Analytical System website (

In the Closed-Loop Economy section of MGIMO SDG/ESG library, you can find more materials on the topic of discussion, including:

  • The federal Closed-Loop Economy project passport. The federal project includes six areas: reducing waste generation, creating an infrastructure for recyclable waste collection, stimulating usage of secondary resources, limiting the use of non-recyclable packaging, creating a system for waste monitoring and eco-education.
  • An overview of international approaches to closed-loop economy. The material prepared by the Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation lays out the basics of the closed-loop, or circular economy (CE) concept. There is also a compilation of both universal and industry-specific CE solutions, which increase the resource efficiency of the global economy, an overview of business models and approaches to CE development in both developed and developing countries.
  • The role of multilateral cooperation in the transition to a closed-loop economy and low-carbon development: waste management associations as key actors of change. The article summarizes the results of a study of industrial and consumer waste management associations. The author has carried out a retrospective analysis of the concept of closed-loop economy and has proposed a classification of waste management associations by their members and their functions. Each type of association is illustrated by a case example. The author has analyzed foreign (USA, European Union (Netherlands), China, India), Russian waste management associations, as well as the International Solid Waste Association, made comparisons of their organizational structures and legal frameworks, drawn out characteristic features for each type of association and proposed the most relevant forms of interaction for Russia.

“Climate Agenda vs Technological Sovereignty: How to Turn Challenges into Opportunities” session

In spite of the geopolitical risks, Russia continues to strengthen its technological sovereignty, improve and develop its industrial technologies. Russian green standards are to be synchronized with the requirements of other countries, in particular, those of India and China. An important part of this process is the policy of achieving technological sovereignty and developing the best available technologies taking into account the green agenda. Is it possible to achieve technological sovereignty and stay on the green path? How can Russia develop its own production facilities under sanctions and still comply with the climate agenda? How do the model taxonomy criteria ensure financing of green climate projects at the EAEU level?

Watch the broadcast in full: Climate Agenda vs Technological Sovereignty: How to Turn Challenges into Opportunities – at Roscongress Information and Analytical System website (

Relevant materials in the MGIMO SDG/ESG library:

“New Approaches and Effective Solutions for Sustainable Development” RBC panel session

At the session, Tatiana Grigorieva, CEO of the National Rating Agency, together with Vladislav Ovchinsky, Head of the Investment and Industrial Policy Department of Moscow, presented a new ESG ranking of cities and regions of the EAEU.

The SDG/ESG library of MGIMO offers a wide range of materials on ESG rating methodology and the ESG ratings of companies, regions and countries themselves. Click on ESG transformation and then go to ESG ratings section.

  • Model methodology of ESG ratings: a report for public discussion. This report by the Bank of Russia consists of several sections containing detailed relevant information on the international ESG agenda, the current state and problems of ESG ratings, and the approach proposed by the Bank of Russia to the harmonization of ESG ratings. It also contains a glossary in which you can find definitions of important concepts, like ESG data, ESG rating, ESG risks, stakeholders, greenwashing, credit rating agency, socially responsible investing, etc. The Appendix contains recommendations of the Bank for the development of methodology and assignment of ESG ratings.
  • Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) 2021 Sustainable Development Index. “Responsibility and openness” and “Sustainable development vector” ESG indexes by RSPP. RSPP publishes two interrelated ESG indexes, “Responsibility and openness” and “Sustainable development vector”. The first one shows how fully and properly Russian companies disclose information on significant issues of sustainable development in their reports. The second one reflects the dynamics of the results achieved by companies in significant areas of ESG.
  • 2020 Rating of Russian regions by standard of living. RIA Rating, an agency, has prepared a comprehensive rating based on various indicators that reflect the state of living conditions, the quality of social services, and shows the differences between regions in this regard. This is especially relevant because the standard of living in different regions of Russia still varies greatly.

At the session, Sergey Glazyev, a member of the Board (Minister) for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), raised the issue of the anthropogenic nature of the ongoing climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer.

Explore the MGIMO SDG/ESG library to learn more on these topics. Click on the Climate policy and carbon regulation section, as well as on SDG 13 Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

  • Synthesis Report of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) Longer Report. The report is a continuation and an extended version of the summary of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report for policymakers. The document contains detailed information about the current state of the climate, the causes and consequences of its change, and provides models and forecasts. Unlike the summary report, this version contains more detailed information about the socio-economic consequences of climate change and possible ways to reduce its impact. The main aim of the report is to provide evidence-based information for political decisions related to climate change, as well as to raise public awareness of the risks and consequences of climate change.
  • Climate Change 2022 Mitigation of Climate Change Summary for Policymakers. The IPCC Working Group III report provides an updated global assessment of progress and commitments on mitigation of climate change, and an examination of the sources of global emissions. It also explains changes in efforts to reduce emissions and mitigate their effects, and assesses the impact of national climate change commitments on long-term emissions targets.

Igor Korotetsky, partner and head of operational risks and sustainable development department at Kept, said that although the sustainable development trend is still relevant in Russia, business interests have shifted eastwards.

In the MGIMO SDG/ESG library you can find the following materials devoted to this issue.

  • Opening up new horizons. ESG agenda in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. The practice-oriented study presents an analysis of the ESG agenda in 13 countries in which ESG practices are most developed and which together accounted for 29 percent of exports from Russia in 2021 – China, India, South Africa and others. The study also provides an overview of the requirements for ESG elements and disclosure of non-financial information of 19 exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region. The authors note that these requirements are sometimes more stringent than in the West and express the hope that their study can help Russian companies thrive in Asian markets.
  • Emissions trading schemes in the Asia-Pacific region. The Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects of Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has prepared an overview of greenhouse gas emissions trading schemes (ETS) in the Asia-Pacific region. The review analyzes the national experience of Asian countries in the development and implementation of carbon regulation. Most of the major economies in the region have prototypes of ETS or already functioning systems. Some countries have developed detailed plans for their implementation. For example, in 2021, the national ETS was introduced in China, and now it covers the widest range of emissions. The number and coverage of ETS has been steadily growing over the recent years, as many countries see carbon pricing as an effective way to combat climate change.
  • BRICS Sustainable Development Index and Its Methodological Aspects. The article analyzes the methodological aspects of comparative studies on the problems of sustainable development, which are the base for the future Sustainable Development Index of the BRICS countries. The index will assess the progress the five countries made in achieving the SDGs in 2015-2020. The authors have systematized other countries’ experience in terms of research, indexes and ratings which reflect the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability.  They have also identified key research areas of the SDG methodology as a whole. This will be the basis for the methodology of the BRICS Sustainable Development Index. In the final part of the article, the authors have provided intermediate values of the index.

Development institutions, sustainable finance and taxonomy of green projects were other topics discussed at the session. They were mentioned by Elena Gushchina, Managing Director of VEB.RF.

Read more on these issues in the MGIMO SDG/ESG library.

  • “Sustainable Development and Capital Markets” manual in the book “ESG Transformation as a Vector of Sustainable Development. Volume 1”. The first volume of the three-volume edition, prepared at MGIMO and coedited by Capitolina Tourbina and Igor Yurgens, provides an overview and an analysis of various aspects of sustainable development in the world and in Russia, including institutional aspects of achieving the UN SDGs, principles of green finance and non-financial reporting, approaches to solving global and local environmental problems, issues of transition to non-traditional sources of energy.
  • National green methodology and its application. The presentation by VEB.RF shows the key elements of the global sustainable development agenda, the documents that form the basis of the Russian green methodology and the criteria that green and adaptation financial instruments should meet.
  • Criteria (taxonomy) of social projects in Russia. The draft taxonomy includes criteria for investment projects in healthcare, education, business, sport and culture.

Watch the broadcast in full: “New Approaches and Effective Solutions for Sustainable Development” – at Roscongress Information and Analytical System website (

We also invite you to study other materials available in the MGIMO SDG/ESG Digital Library and subscribe for updates!

Author: Andrey Avramenko

Editor-in-chief: Capitolina Tourbina

Translator: Stanislav Shurygin

Designer: Maria Bakhireva

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Department of International Complex Problems of Nature Management and Ecology
MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation