Development of Responsible Finance and Investment Practice in Russia

On April 7, during the Governing board meeting of the Association ‘National Global Compact Network’, this direction was announced to be included into the list of immediate priorities of its activities.

‘We’ve been continually underlining our focus on project work of the Association, on forming a portfolio of specialized long-term programs under the aegis of the Russian Global Compact network’, informed L.E. Ovchinnikova, the chairperson of the Governing board. ‘We choose these projects, the programs’ orientation considering analysis of key sustainable development trends, drawing attention to which is crucial for the development of the Russian economy. Their promotion contributes to creating in Russia supportive and efficient business environment, which cannot be isolated from major global processes. One of such topics is responsible finance and investment practice. It’s directly connected to the notions of corporate responsibility, first of all ecological one, and involves into the circle of this responsibility banks, credit organizations, investment institutions, private investors and many more’.

Under the aegis of the UN Global Compact, in liaison with the Moscow UNEP office, a basic partnership was formed out of the Association members (Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Vnesheconombank, AFK ‘Sistema’, and ‘Russ-Invest’ investment company). From the general understanding of importance and topicality of this area, the partnership in cooperation with the UNEP FI (UNEP Financial Initiative) and PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) headquarters is moving towards concise implementation of the action plan. Within the new platform, Global Compact united both UNEP FI and PRI resources. It seems reasonable to do the same at the country level. It will allow to receive support and consultations from the head office and, on our turn, to get involved into their global activities.

Work will be organized taking into account the general understanding of preconditions and perspectives of developing in Russia the practice of responsible financing and investment; among them, the following factors can be considered the key ones:

1. Preconditions and perspectives of implementation in Russia the practice of responsible financing and investment, out of which there are:

-      Sustainable development principles (including SDGs);

-      New models of economic relations in the globalized world;

-      Importance of accounting ecological and social impact while conducting investment and financial activities;

-      Increasing risk management efficiency for finance and investment activities, etc.

2. International practices and progress in this field:

-      Global initiatives and trend;

-      Best practices analysis;

-      Experience of respected investment institutions and international financial organizations (World Bank group, EPRD, etc.) and leading development banks;

-      Position of global consulting and rating agencies;

-      Stock market experience, etc.

3. Reasons and interest growing-points of Russian financial and investment structures interest to responsible finance (investment) practices, such as:

-      Integration of Russian into global economic processes;

-      Turning towards large-scale adoption of principles and development of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development practices;

-      Advancement of fair business practices framework considering international norms and standards;

-      Need for shaping usual terminology and understanding the system of stakeholder interactions within the framework of implementing responsible finance (investment) projects, etc.

4. Perspectives of developing in Russia the practice of responsible financing (investment) practices, for example:

-      Determining key priorities, models, tools, measures of development, public and private support of introducing principles of responsible finance (investment);

-      Russian business community efforts intensification and integration for the topic promotion;

-      Examination of forms and possibilities for the best practices exchange;

-      Initiation of holding in Russia public hearings on the issues of responsible finance (investment) practices development, etc.

Committed participants of the Russian Global Compact network invite for cooperation various experts and plan to organize as early as this year a number of thematic meetings and consultations with international experts and representatives of the initiatives named, and later to launch preparing material for publishing guidance on responsible finance and investment.

An expert survey is also announced, aimed at researching the level of understanding the subject particularity in the professional community, revealing key demand for informational support of the topic, need for targeted events and forming a determined agenda of the subject development, popular with a business community.

Based on all this information scope, in prospect the program of public hearings (discussions) will be organized, given the business community position on state involvement into further development and regulation of the topic. Within the framework of such cooperation it is possible to create new forms of responsible finance and investment standard translation, launching work on promotion of the topic in our business community and, as a result, to end up with a broader discussion at a country level, initiating targeted projects and policy-making procedures.

Currently the plan of detailed events is being formed, as well as the coalition of committed participants, out of which there are large banks, reputable consulting agencies, investment players and other stakeholders.

We are looking forward to cooperation!

back