On 19 June 2018 Vedomosti.Practise supported by the UN GC Local Network and RSPP assembled in Marriott Moscow Grand Hotel.
Participants interested in the topic of involving business in the sustainable development processes and practical promotion of responsible business practice in Russia – representatives of public authorities, directors, CSR and sustainability managers, heads of communications, PR-, GR-, HR- and IR-department, development functions of Russian and international companies.
The discussion was built upon the issues of global and local informational openness of companies in the context of current sustainable development trends, necessity of a voluntary or a regulated process of publishing non-financial reporting, new forms of business – stakeholders partnerships.
Among the preconditions there are the more visible transformation of business-models of the leading companies towards sustainability and moving CSR to a strategic function. At the same time, understanding and use of opportunities of the 2030 Agenda allows Russian business to develop new technologies and products, strengthening competitive advantages, extending markets and enforcing their position.
Opening the expert presentations at the first panel, Larisa Ovchinnikova, Chair of the Board of the Association ‘National Network of the Global Compact’, Managing Director of the Institutional Development department of Vnesheconombank, underlined that by taking responsibility for the future, integrating sustainable development concepts, business launches new long-term investment strategies, receiving not only reputational, but commercial advantages, opens new sources of creating value and increasing profitability.
Inevitability of such transformation is related also to the fact that at the global level, at global and local markets adherence to the principles of corporate responsibility and involvement into sustainable development processes are becoming more and more significant factors of business growth and of capitalization of its reputation. That is the way, in which the business leaders themselves perceive and formulate their strategy.
As a confirmation, Larisa Ovchinnikova applied to the key conclusions of the Progress Report prepared by the UN Global Compact jointly with the DNV GL agency. The report assesses progress in terms of how companies are taking action on the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals, and features ten interviews with disruptive business leaders. It also highlights ten focus areas for the future where further business engagement is needed. Out of the key conclusions there are progress in the CSR area, increasing role of the SDGs and importance of non-financial reporting for business. Informational openness and corporate transparency are becoming the extremely important tools of interaction with stakeholders and investors.
‘Everyone understands that business possesses huge both constructive and disruptive power, and such balance, choice of approaches on which a company is building its activities, is becoming the key factor for the external audience’, confirms Elena Feoktistova, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Association ‘National Network of the Global Compact’, Managing Director of RSPP on corporate responsibility, sustainable development and social entrepreneurship. ‘Thus publicness of a company and independent assessment of its non-financial messages are more and more important components of business success and managing a corporate responsibility system’.
Advanced approaches to managing corporate social responsibility were illustrated by the cases of such companies as Nestle, OMK, Philip Morris Sales and Marketing, Nornickel, IKEA, IBM, etc.
Svetlana Ivchenko, Director of Social Policy Department at Nornickel, shared the experience of the UN Global Compact participants – a new systematic approach, which is integrated in the company and which is based on uniting all the directions and best practices on sustainable development in a single integrated system, a consequence of which has become publication in 2017 of 17 new policies on various sustainable development aspects and creating a special committee on audit and sustainable development, which allows specialists in ecology, health and safety, social policy, HR etc., previously not connected by common objectives, to successfully work together.In order to assist Russian business in the further search of the optimal forms of integrating sustainable development values into business activities, to study demands, needs and supply of Russian business in its connection to enforce SDGs, Russian Local Network jointly with its partners is running a survey among leading companies. Its results will be used to form a programme of actions, aimed at extending opportunities of integrating SDGs into business-strategies and promoting Russian responsible business at the international arena.