Such dialogues took place within the framework of the conference “Responsible Financial and Investment Practice in Russia”, which on February 27, with the support of the Global Compact Local Network Russia, was held for the first time at the site of the Vedomosti business publication.
Representatives of relevant government departments, financial institutions, investment funds and corporations, the business community, associations and NGOs, analysts and experts in the format of thematic dialogues discussed the current agenda for creating a system of responsible financing and investment in Russia, taking into account national realities and international trends.
The financial sector and investment institutions are key drivers for shaping the economy of sustainable development and the fulfillment of the most important humanitarian, social and environmental objectives, both within the framework of Russia's strategic goals and within the UN global agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals). The impact of sustainable development standards on a wide range of investment tactics, financial products and services - from project and export financing to corporate loans, private investment and the activities of institutional investors - is becoming increasingly obvious. Taking into account global trends, many financial and investment organizations are in the process of revising and improving their approaches to risk management at the same time as the sphere of government regulation of social and environmental responsibility of these institutions is developing in many countries.
Over the past decade, environmental and social responsibility standards have become firmly established in the business practice of financial and investment organizations in developed countries. Green and social trends are framed in a variety of concepts, programs and standards that influence the development of global and national markets (International Finance Corporation (IFC), OECED Recommendations, Equator Principles, developed on the basis of documents of the International Finance Corporation, experience of the largest development banks, PRI, UNEP FI, GREDB, CBI, Green Bomd Pledge, Green Bond Principles / Social Bond Principles / Sustainability Bond Guidelines, developed by the International Capital Markets Association, etc.).
The theme gained momentum in Russia (especially intensively - in 2016-2018). The Ministry of Industry and Trade decided to subsidize interest rates on green bonds. An Expert Working Group on Responsible Investment has been established at the Bank of Russia, which has prepared a diagnostic note “Green Finance: An Agenda for Russia”; The Committee on Financial Markets at the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; ICC Russia Commission on Climate Change Economics and Sustainable Development; The green section of the Moscow Stock Exchange and others were established and planned to be launched. The national network of the UN Global Compact in Russia is launching a program to promote responsible financial and investment practices, including based on the UN Financial Action for Sustainable Development Goals platform of action. will develop a guide on investment strategies in support of the SDGs. In December 2018, a significant event took place in Russia: the first in the history of the country on the Moscow Stock Exchange were placed "green" bonds. In January 2019, the passport of the national project “Ecology” was approved and the Presidential Decree on the creation of a public law company Russian Ecological Operator was issued.
The Russian corporate sector also responds, in which new narrow specialists have already emerged - ESG-managers. Russian companies that demonstrate commitment to the principles of sustainable development and effective methods of work in the field of environmental, social and corporate governance, receive the first recognition of leading rating agencies and exchanges (Sustainalytics, Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets, etc.). Integrating the principles of sustainable development into a business strategy not only creates long-term value, but begins to have a direct impact on financial results, reducing debt financing costs.
Russia heard all global messages and realized trends. Is Russia ready? Or delayed at the start? What are the expectations of market participants, the position of regulators and the main tools that can be applied in practice today (both world and already existing Russian)? How does Russia fit into the global green course with regard to national priorities, make a choice in favor of sustainable projects and the wide dissemination of new adequate approaches to managing environmental risks and liability standards in the investment and financial sector?
These questions were taken into the main thematic framework of the conference and its two main sections - “Russia's place in the system of transformation of financial and investment markets in the interests of sustainable development” and “Tools for the development of responsible investment practices and the green finance market”, which included such aspects as:
Transformation and regulation of the investment and financial system, taking into account the principles of sustainable development.
Actual prerequisites for the development of responsible investment practice in Russia and the creation of a market for green finance.
Market participants responsible investment and green finance. Positions and needs.
Integrating Sustainability and ESG into Corporate Governance and Investment Strategies.
Risk management in ESG portfolios. Barriers to investment flows.
Green loans and securitization.
Tools (methodology, standardization, auditing, indices, registries, verification).
Roadmap for the formation of a market for green finance in Russia.