MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation Digest #3

MGIMO Centre for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation Digest #3

19 April 2022

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

The third issue is focused on the latest news in the above-mentioned areas that were in the spotlight in Russia in March 2022. The originals of the news are available via active links in the text. The English version is published monthly.

Sustainable Finance

Prospects for the ESG agenda and responsible financing in Russia were the topic of the first meeting of the Expert Council on Sustainable Development and Green Finance of the State Duma, held on March 22. The participants recognized the crucial role of financial organizations for the development of the green economy and highlighted the need to create a set of banking services and exchange-traded products.

Vladimir Senin, Chairman of the Expert Council, stressed that the financing of green projects is a objective requirement and a national interest for Russia. During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the necessity to establish and develop the system of national regulation, to harmonize national legislation and to develop Russia’s own ESG standards.

The ESG Sector has been created at the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange, which includes three segments of the list of securities admitted to trading: «Green Bonds», «Social Bonds», «Sustainability Bonds». The securities must have an independent external evaluation given by organizations from the list of authorized verifiers of VEB.RF, ICMA or CBI and comply with the requirements of Securities Issuance Standards. The segment «Adaptation Bonds» has also been created, which includes bonds of Russian issuers implementing investment projects that meet the criteria of the taxonomy of adaptation projects approved by the Russian Government.

Spokespersons of the largest Russian banks said that the ESG agenda remains relevant despite Western sanctions. ESG banking is one of the main drivers of the ESG transformation of Russian business, so the strategies of key banks and their commitment to the principles of sustainable development continue to play an important role for the national economy.

An example of a local banking ESG initiative is the task book named «Sustainable Development Goals», created by Center-invest bank jointly with the Don State Technical University. The task book is a compilation of 35 tasks that help to get acquainted with the ESG agenda and learn about the problems of sustainable development in the context of digital technologies.

Other news on the topic:

14.03.2022 Center-invest Bank’s ESG-Support for SMEs
17.03.2022 Banks Were Recommended to Implement ESG Standards to Attract Green Financing
21.03.2022 Moscow Hosted an International Forum on The Green Agenda in the CIS
24.032022 ESG-Agenda Remains Relevant in Russia
26.03.2022 Report by Infragreen on the Development of ESG and Green Finance Market in Russia in 2018-Early 2022

Corporate ESG Strategies

A number of large-scale ESG projects that previously received green financing have been launched. Ecolant, a metallurgical company, has begun construction of Russia’s first electric steelmaking complex of full-cycle green metallurgy in the Novgorod region, and a new plant for recylcing the main types of plastic will soon be put into operation in the Moscow region by EcoLine-Vtorplast, a joint venture.

New companies are committing to the ESG agenda: for example, Yuzhuralzoloto, one of the three largest gold miners in Russia, plans to introduce ESG practices to promote itself in the global investment markets. Moreover, Fix Price, a chain of discount variety stores, has published information on its ESG agenda for the first time and plans to present a sustainability report to its stakeholders in accordance with GRI and SASB standards.

Severstal is supporting the Darwin State Nature Reserve, as well as ornithologists in order to preserve populations of rare bird species in four regions of Russia as part of environmental aspect of its ESG strategy.

According to the monthly rating issued by RAEX-Europe, a credit agency, Enel Russia remains the most green Russian company. Polymetal takes the second place, and Credit Bank of Moscow closes the top three. At the same time, the following companies were included in the February rating for the first time: Pigment (KRATA) (ranked 34th), MegaFon (ranked 73rd), VSMPO-Avisma (ranked 80th), Sheremetyevo (ranked 82nd) and GAZ Group (ranked 128th).

Other news on the topic:

05.03.2022 Experts Stressed the Continued Importance of ESG Principles for Russian Businesses in Times of Crisis
10.03.2022 Sustainable Development of Agriculture is Crucial for Ensuring Food Security in the Magadan Region, Sergey Nosov Says
11.03.2022 Resist and Survive: What Will Change in the Russian ESG Agenda in the Near Future
14.03.2022 ESG in Siberia

Education for Sustainable Development and ESG Transformation

Russian education institutions are actively building up their potential in the field of ESG transformation and decarbonization. The Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University together with the National Rating Agency have created a scientific laboratory named «Sustainable Development Management and ESG Transformation». The purpose is to conduct relevant research on the issues of sustainable development and ESG transformation, to cooperate and interact with businesses and government agencies in the field of sustainable development, to introduce achievements of fundamental and applied science in the practical activities of the agency and in the educational process of Moscow State University, and to contribute to achieving the UN SDGs.

The ESG Resource Center and the St. Petersburg University of Management and Economics Technologies have signed a memorandum of cooperation to promote ideas and technologies for sustainable development of the Russian Federation. In particular, the memorandum provides for the creation of the Northwest Cluster of Sustainable Development under the scientific and methodological guidance of the MGIMO ESG Resource Center.

On March 3 Kommersant. The South of Russia, a publishing house, held a conference titled «Universities in the ESG agenda: challenges and opportunities». Among the topics of the conference were the educational and scientific mission of the Southern Federal District universities in the sustainable development agenda, their participation in the Priority 2030 program and prospective research in the field of innovation and technology. The conference was attended by Igor Yurgens, head of the MGIMO ESG Resource Center, and Prof. Capitolina Tourbina, scientific director of the MGIMO Center for Sustainable Development and supervisor of «Management of Sustainable Development» Master’s degree program.

The Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University has published a report on sustainable development. The document outlines the current practices and the contribution of the faculty to the implementation of the principles of sustainable development and reflects a systematic approach to the problem.

On March 22, MGIMO held the first international test named «Together to Sustainable Development». The test was conducted online on the MGIMO e-platform and consisted of 15 questions. 369 participants from 42 cities of Russia and China participated. 29 persons (7.5% of the total number of participants) passed the test, having given over 75% of correct answers. They received certificates of participation and special certificates from WWF «Let’s take care of the future of our planet». The winner — Kristina Chubarova got a very special certificate from WWF «Personal Guard of Amur tiger» and an option for the interview with Russian UN support Association. On behalf of all participants, new trees will be planted as part of the program for the maintenance of Russian forest cover, carried out by Trillion LLC, the partner of the project. Each participant will receive a personalized certificate indicating the longitude and latitude of the place where the tree will be planted.

Other news on the topic:

19.01.2022 Donstroy to Cetrify the First Russian School According to LEED
28.01.2022 All-Russian Competition of Underwater Robots Will Be Held in Vladivostok as Part of the Decade of Ocean Sciences
14.02.2022 All-Russian Students’ Action Day Named «I Make Change»
24.02.2022 Life in Arctic to Benefit from Public-Private Partnership Education Projects, Expert Says
25.02.2022 Results of the First Stage of «Green Initiatives in Universities», an All-Russian Competition, Have Been Published

Useful materials:

Atlas of Professions of the Future
Report on Sustainable Development of the Faculty of Economics of Lomonosov Moscow State University
ESG and Sustainable Development of Food Systems (A Course)
Observing Rivers: How to Learn to See Environmental Problems and Solve Them Together (A Course)
Management of Sustainable Development (a Master’s Degree Course at MGIMO)
Management of Low—carbon Development (a Master’s Degree Course at National Research University «Higher School of Economics»)
My Green University. (An All-Russian Competition of Student Eco-projects)
ESG Solution Case Cup

Environmental Protection

A bill has been submitted to the State Duma obliging citizens to separate waste, and legal entities to dispose of it. The law may come into force as early as September 1 this year, and a complete ban on the disposal of secondary resources and secondary raw materials is expected to take effect from 2030. Earlier, deputies of the Moscow City Council proposed to increase fines for throwing out garbage from cars in inappropriate places. The estimated amount of the fine for citizens will be from 10,000 to 15,000 rubles, and in the case of individual entrepreneurs and legal entities, the bill provides for confiscation of the vehicle. Street cameras and special camera traps will be used to fix violations.

On March 1, a ban came into force for organizations and individual entrepreneurs to throw out old equipment into regular containers for solid municipal waste. Citizens can still throw away out of order equipment into garbage containers.

From February 28 to March 4, two sessions of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) were held in Nairobi (it is in this city that the headquarters of UNEP is located). Those were the resumed fifth session (UNEA 5.2), as well as the UNEA Special Session dedicated to the 50th anniversary of UNEP (UNEP@50). We announced this event in the twenty-first issue of the Russian Digest. In this issue, we publish an interview with Galina Bublikova, a graduate of the Department of International Complex Problems of Nature Management and Ecology of the Faculty of Applied Economics and Commerce of MGIMO, who participated in organizing and holding of the Assembly meeting in Nairobi.

«During UNEA 5.2, the countries negotiated on a number of significant topics of the international environmental agenda. Those included issues of safe circulation of chemicals, solutions in the field of sustainable use of natural resources (the so-called nature-based solutions), animal welfare, lake management, etc.

The key outcome of the meeting was the adoption of a resolution establishing an intergovernmental negotiating committee on an international agreement in the field of combating environmental plastic pollution. The world community has long been aware of the seriousness of this problem, so this resolution of UNEA 5.2 is of special importance. I note that Russia initially took an active part in this negotiation process and warmly welcomes the committee work that lies ahead.

Within the framework of UNEP@50, the states reflected on the progress they have made for half a century and expressed confidence that UNEP will continue to successfully fulfill the role of a key UN structure in the field of environmental protection.»

Other news on the topic:

03.03.2022 Entrepreneur from Altai Has Found a New Use for Industrial Waste
12.03.2022 Ermine and Mandarin Duck: about 60 Rare Species of Animals and Birds Were Found in Wilderness Areas within Moscow
15.03.2022 Magnitogorsk Landfill to Be Reclaimed by Late 2024
15.03.2022 New Waste Sorting Complexes Will Improve the Ecological Situation in the Sverdlovsk Region
17.03.2022 Polyethylene-Based Eco-Friendly Asphalt Was Invented in Perm
16.03.2022 The State Duma to Prepare a Fine for Non-Registration in the Hazardous Waste Management Information System
17.03.2022 Beaches and Coastal Waters Will Have a Single Owner
18.03.2022 Eco-Charge Will Be Used Only for the Development of Garbage Processing Industry, Abramchenko Says

Authors: Andrey Avramenko, Sofia Denisova, Polina Raikova, Nikita Savostitskiy, Egor Solovey
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:

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