SPIEF-2018: Accepting and Understanding Responsibility

The programmatic motto of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which took place in Saint Petersburg on 24-26 May 2018 has become the one that UN Global Compact Local Network in Russia can call its own slogan - 'Building a Trust Economy'. The direct connection of values was reflected not only in the concept, but in the Forum programme, which as widely as never presented this year global agenda on corporate social responsibility and sustainable development: from global digital agenda to global responsibility as a key competence of today’s youth.

Russian UNGC Local Network participants acted as speakers in several thematic sessions, in two of them participated Larisa Ovchinnikova (Chairman of the Governing Board, National Network of the Global Compact, Managing Director of the Institutional Development department of Vnesheconombank State Corporation) and Elena Feoktistova (Deputy Chairperson of the Governance Board of the Russian UN Global Compact Local Network, Managing Director on corporate responsibility, sustainable development and social entrepreneurship of RSPP). They presented approach of UNGC LN leadership and RSPP experience as drivers of forming responsible business practice in Russia.

First of them, panel session ‘Taking responsibility for the future: a long investment strategy for business’ (24 May), focused on sustainable development concept as a common practice for business, subject of national and international discussions on economic development. Global changes were perceived by session participants not only as strategic factors of developing companies, but as a challenge, requesting long-term responsible approach. During the discussion speakers aimed at presenting experience of global and Russian companies, answering the question of what sustainable development idea of today is - a responsible approach to management, a fashionable trend, or a competitive strategy? What are the real business advantages of applying sustainable development strategies in Russia and globally? What is the experience of global and Russian companies? Is it possible to calculate the benefits of long-term investments in sustainable development using traditional economic approaches?


Evgeny Primakov, General Director, Russian Humanitarian Mission


Jens Birgersson, President, Chief Executive Officer, ROCKWOOL International A/S

Andrey Varichev, Chief Executive Officer, Management Company METALLOINVEST LLC; Member of the Management Board, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP)

Alexey Kornya, President, MTS

Vasyl Latsanych, Chief Executive Officer, PJSC VimpelCom

Alexander Machkevitch, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Eurasian Resources Group S.a.r.l. (ERG)

Juvencio Maeztu Herrera, Chief Financial Officer, IKEA

Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Severstal

Larisa Ovchinnikova, Chairman of the Governing Board, National Network of the Global Compact

Jean-Pierre Thomas, President, Thomas Vendome Investment

Vadim Shvetsov, General Director, Member of the Board of Directors, SOLLERS

Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, Vice President, Global Head of Government and Public Affairs, Royal Philips

David Iakobachvili, President, Orion Heritage

Front row participants

Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP)

Anna Yanchevskaya, President, Chairman of the Management Board, Sistema Charitable Foundation

Larisa Ovchinnikova underlined that adherence of company to CSR principles and its involvement into sustainable development processes is becoming a significant factor of growth, its capitalization and reputation. ‘UN gives a key role of achieving Sustainable development goals to business, and in this regard Global Compact role is growing as well’, commented L. Ovchinnikova. ‘Russian companies – participants and partners of Global Compact – are actively involved into this process’.

Business participants commented on their role in enforcing global agenda. PAO ‘Severstal’ has joined Global Compact recently, though concept of responsible business culture and sustainability for the company is not new – for many years it has been a part of commercial strategy. Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors confirmed that: ‘Sustainable development is a megatrend, and Russia cannot stay behind. We see that consumers while choosing products more often base on environmental protection. Investors consider ESG factors and ratings when purchasing shares. Governments impose quite strict environmental regulation. Very often, we can hear opinion that for business dealing with sustainability issues is not profitable, that it creates additional costs. It is not true. Moreover, I am sure that when approaching correctly sustainable development opens new sources of value creation and increasing profitability’.

Second panel session with participation of Russian UNGC Local Network leadership was ‘Commercial reputation: When one’s word is not enough’ took place on May 26. Speakers and participants discussed increasing dependence of business on so-called non-financial factors in the era of fast communications, when the protection and preservation of business reputation is becoming more and more topical. What are the factors, which affect business reputation today? How can it be preserved? How can social responsibility be integrated within the strategic planning and management of a company? What can be done to facilitate trust to avoid loss of money and reputation? The evident conclusion was the resume of the session: non-compliance with environmental norms, lack of investment in human capital, inattention to social programmes and charity can lead to significant reputational and, consequently, financial losses. 


Sergey Shapiguzov, Managing Partner, President, FBK Grant Thornton


Marc Bartholomy, Partner, Head of the Corporate and Real Estate Practices, Clifford Chance CIS Limited

Marat Biktimirov, General Director, E-Arena National Association of Research and Educational e-Infrastructures

Julia Morozova, General Director, Creative Production

Ruslan Novikov, General Director, Argumenty I Facty Ltd

Ekaterina Trofimova, Chief Executive Officer, Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA)

Elena Feoktistova, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility, Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship Directorate, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP)

Yuriy Yudenkov, Professor, Department of Finance and Banking (DFB), Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

David Iakobachvili, President, Orion Heritage


The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is a unique event in the world of business and economics. SPIEF has been held since 1997, and since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation, who has also attended each event. Over the last 20 years, the Forum has become a leading global platform for members of the business community to meet and discuss the key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole. SPIEF-2018 hosted more than 17 000 people from 143 countries. All members of recently formed Government of the Russian Federation and Heads of 75 region of the country participated in the event. During the Forum, more than 500 agreements were signed overall exceeding 2 trillion rubles.

Video record of sessions at Roscongress website

Taking responsibility for the future: a long investment strategy for business (24.05.2018)

Commercial reputation: When one’s word is not enough (26.05.2018)