MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation Digest #21

MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation Digest #21

1 December 2023

The English version of the MCUR Digest (MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation) is a regular information source accumulating the main Russian and world news in the sphere of sustainable development and ESG transformation, responsible finance and climate agenda. The English version is published monthly.

The seventeenth issue is focused on the latest developments in the above-mentioned areas that were in the spotlight in November 2023. The originals of the news are available via active links in the text.

Climate Policy and Carbon Regulation

On October 11-13, the Russian Energy Week (REN-2023), an international forum, took place in Moscow. The Forum was held for the sixth time. The core topic of REN this year was “The New Reality of Global Energy: Building the Future”. At the plenary session of the Forum, President Putin claimed that Russia is set to gradually achieve zero emissions, as well as the fact that Russia has one of the greenest energy distribution structures in the world. “Within the Forum and the REN Youth Day, over 70 events were held, and more than 225 speakers took part in the sessions. In total, over 5,000 delegates from 84 countries came to the Russian Energy Week. More than 2,000 participants attended the Youth Day,” Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of Russia, Executive Secretary of the Organizing Committee of REN-2023, said. The Forum site was visited by 36 heads of diplomatic missions. State organizations concluded 28 agreements and memoranda of cooperation. The REN-2023 Business Program comprised a number of events of the “Sustainable Development and Climate” block, including sections titled “Climate Projects: a Real Mechanism for Achieving Carbon Neutrality or a Hurdle for Business?” and “Energy Transition and Its Prospects: the Future of Low-Carbon Energy in Russia”. As part of the other blocks of REN-2023, the sections titled “Scenarios for the Development of World Energy”, “Technological Sovereignty and Low-Carbon Energy: a Look into Tomorrow”, “Hydrogen Energy Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities”, “Electric Vehicles: Production and Infrastructure” were held.

On October 26, the President’s Decree No. 812 “On the Approval of the Climate Doctrine of Russia” was published. “This is a top-level document, which is the basis of the country’s climate policy. The document has replaced the 2009 doctrine, which was largely outdated and did not take into account the changes in international (for example, the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015) and domestic regulations (the adoption of a low-emissions development strategy, the implementation of carbon units, etc.)”, Alexandra Koval, Deputy Head of the Russia-OECD Center of RANEPA, noted.

Other news on the topic:

03.10.2023 Rosatom Has Put into Operation 1 GW of Wind Power Capacity

05.10.2023 Temperate and Boreal Forests, Not Tropical Ones, Are Believed to Be the Main Carbon Sinks

10.10.2023 Delo Group Has Acquired 10,000 Green Renewable Energy Certificates

16.10.2023 Russian Environmental Operator Will Create a System for Monitoring of Greenhouse Gas Emissions at the Carbon sites

16.10.2023 “We Need to Cooperate More Actively in the Field of Renewable Energy”, Vadim Zakrevsky, Head of the Energy Department of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Said

19.10.2023 The Prospects of Introducing Electric Buses in St. Petersburg

23.10.2023 India and China Implement the Largest Number of Carbon Projects

24.10.2023 Russians’ Opinion on Global Warming

24.10.2023 Green Energy Is Proving Inefficient

24.10.2023 EU Will Give Income Guarantees to Nuclear and Coal Power Plants

25.10.2023 India Has Allowed Local Power Plants to Burn Coal Uncontrollably

25.10.2023 According to IEA, the Share of Global Solar and Wind Power Generation Will Be between 54 and 72% by 2050

26.10.2023 Ilham Aliyev Took Part in the Opening Ceremony of the Garadagh Solar Power Plant with a Capacity of 230 MW

31.10.2023 An Analysis of Russia’s New Climate Doctrine

Event announcements:

RAVIFORUM on Renewable Energy and Electric Transport Organized by the Russian Association of Renewable Energy and Electric Transport

Useful materials:

2023 State of the Climate Report: Entering Uncharted Territory

CarbonBombs

Books Section of the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology Website

Sustainable Finance

Financing for sustainable development remains a strategic priority for the Bank of Russia. Thus, in its draft document titled “The Main Directions of the Financial Market Development for 2024 and 2025-2026”, Russia’s Central Bank has stated “Increasing the contribution of the financial market to achieving sustainable development goals” as one of its key tasks. According to the document, the Bank of Russia plans to monitor compliance with its recommendations in the field of sustainable development, and based on the monitoring results, it will decide on whether to adjust its regulations. In addition, a Bank of Russia official said that the regulator is aimed at integrating ESG approaches into prudential regulation and supervision.

The relevance of the ESG agenda is also illustrated by large issues of ESG bonds. According to the analysis by ACRA, a rating agency, by the end of 2023, a 115 billion rubles’ worth of ESG bonds will be issued in Russia, and taking into account the segment of national and adaptation projects of the Sustainable Development Sector of the Moscow Exchange, the total worth of ESG financial instruments will exceed 160 billion rubles. This is 51% more than the volume of ESG bonds issued in 2022, but 24% less than that of 2021, which is the record placement volume.

Speaking about the progress of Russian banks in the field of sustainable development, the following can be noted:

  • Rosbank published its first sustainable development report for 2022. The report was prepared in accordance with the recommendations of the Bank of Russia, the Moscow Exchange, as well as the reporting principles and standards of GRI.
  • Gazprombank planted Chinese junipers in Khodynskoye Pole park in Moscow to honor the placement of yuan bonds. It also installed four chaise lounges with commemorative plaques near the planted trees.
  • Sber received two Russian ESG ratings. The National Rating Agency assigned an ESG rating at the AA.esg level, which indicates the high level of integration of the ESG agenda in the bank’s activities. Also, RAEX assigned an ESG rating to Sber at the AA level.
  • Center-Invest Bank held a round table titled “ESG Banking: Investing into the Future” at the 20th International Banking Forum. At the round table, the competitive advantages of ESG banking, barriers and prospects for the development of non-financial reporting, as well as approaches to ESG risks management and data availability were discussed.

Other news on the topic:

03.10.2023 ESG-Insur 2023 Conference

05.10.2023 EU Approves World’s First Green Bond Standards to Avoid Greenwashing

05.10.2023 BlackRock Launches Climate Transition-Focused Private Debt Fund

09.10.2023 Climate Change the ‘Most Common’ Reason for Portfolio Exclusion

12.10.2023 Sber Has Increased Its ESG Credit Portfolio to about 1.9 Trillion Rubles

18.10.2023 Green Fees Overtake Fossil Fuels for Second Straight Year

20.10.2023 High-level Closing Roundtable on Investing in Sustainable Development: the Way Forward

27.10.2023 ESG Supply by Banks Set to Stay Strong in 2024

31.10.2023 Central and Eastern Europe Country Category Winners 2023: Best Bank for ESG in Armenia: Ardshinbank

Useful materials:

ESMA. The European Sustainable Debt Market – Do Issuers Benefit from an ESG Pricing Effect?

Corporate ESG Transformation

In October 2023, there was a slight decrease in ESG ratings activity, compared to September:

In October 2023, the first reports on sustainable development of the Russian Environmental Operator and Etalon Group, as well as the second ESG report of T Plus for 2022, were published.

Other news on the topic:

03.10.2023 ESG Ratings: Whose Interests Do They Serve?

04.10.2023 The Leaders and Best Regional Practices of Sustainable Development Were Discussed at Izvestia Information Center

05.10.2023 The Demand for ESG Specialists May Grow Next Year

05.10.2023 The Bank of Russia Is Preparing Recommendations for Sustainable Development Strategies

13.10.2023 Only 4% of Companies Disclosing in line with Full TCFD Recommendations

13.10.2023 ESG Transparency of Russian Companies Was Discussed at Expert RA Conference

24.10.2023 Ever More Companies Have to Train Their Own ESG Specialists

25.10.2023 Ordinary Employees of Russian Companies Know Little about ESG Agenda

31.10.2023 Distilling the Alphabet Soup of ESG-Related Regulation by the EU

Event announcements:

14.11.2023 12th Moscow International Corporate Volunteering Forum

29.11.2023 3rd All-Russian Non-Financial Reporting Conference organized by AK&M

Useful materials:

RAEX-Sustainability Webinar 127: The Role of Universities in the ESG Agenda

RAEX-Sustainability Webinar 130: Internal Audit as an Effective Tool for Sustainable Management

RAEX-Sustainability Webinar 132: ESG in HR. Where to Look For and What Competencies to Check

RAEX-Sustainability Webinar 133: Sustainable Development and the Green Agenda for Developers

RAEX and Integrated Reporting Committee Joint Webinar. How Russian Companies Report on Sustainable Development: Research and Recommendations (Part 3)

BRIF | Baikal Risk Forum

Environmental Protection

On October 8-11, the 3rd Russian Environmental Forum (REF) was held at the site of SberUniversity in the Moscow region. The Forum is the largest event which brings together the main processors of municipal solid waste (MSW). The recordings of the plenary session and the 15 sections are available on the website of the Forum. On October 10, at the session titled “Digital Ecology”, the speakers discussed the prospects for the implementation of AI in environment protection and the use of drones in monitoring of waste management. The REF Youth Day gathered more than 400 participants from across Russia and friendly countries.

Other news on the topic:

04.10.2023 Green Economy Statistics Will Be Published for EAEU

06.10.2023 77 Regions of Russia Have Introduced Separate Waste Collection

06.10.2023 Armen Arutyunyan, Head of the Department of Agricultural Policy of the Eurasian Economic Commission, on the Development of Organic Agriculture in the EAEU

10.10.2023 The Fourth Waste Paper Collection Campaign Has Started in Russia

12.10.2023 Putin Has Instructed to Introduce Fines for Violation of Environmental Quotas

17.10.2023 Raw Materials Worth $10 Billion a Year Can Be Extracted from Electronic Garbage

19.10.2023 Winners of Ecosophy Project Became Eco-Mentors

26.10.2023 Construction of a Canal in Afghanistan May Strip Central Asia of Water

26.10.2023 The National Front Revealed Cases of Seizure of Land Plots of Specially Protected Areas

26.10.2023 Russia and India Have Co-Invested in the Construction of the Largest Plastic Recycling Plant in Tver

Event announcements:

Eco-Community Forum – Registration Form

Golden Turtle Festival

Useful materials:

The History of Urban Space Planning

Authors: Andrey Avramenko, Sofia Denisova

Editors-in-chief: Capitolina Tourbina

Translator: Stanislav Shurygin

Designer: Maria Bakhireva

Disclaimer: The point of view of the MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation may differ from the opinions of the authors of the news cited in the analytical publication. All materials are for reference only, and the MCUR is not responsible for their implementation in practice. The links to news sources used in the compilation of the MCUR Digest are indicated in the text and are active only in online format. The Digest does not use external copyrighted materials or reproduce them. If you have any questions, please contact: mcur@inno.mgimo.ru.

The MCUR Digest is being issued as part of the implementation of the strategic academic leadership program “Priority 2030”.

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