Russia grows with Siberia, and Siberia - with an environmentally sustainable business

Russia grows with Siberia, and Siberia - with an environmentally sustainable business

Expert Reports  
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In recent years, the trend towards responsibility and environmental friendliness of business has been gaining momentum in the world. As a result, such a concept as ESG emerged, which can be deciphered as “ecology, social policy and corporate governance”.

It is the EGS principles that should become the basis for moving forward in Siberia, a key macro-region for the development of the country's economy as a whole. This opinion was expressed by experts and business representatives at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum 2022.

According to the forum participants, the prosperity of the economy in the region depends on a homogeneous development of all areas of activity that would complement each other and give impetus to even greater growth. In this regard, industrial companies are actively implementing ESG principles for doing business. This means that their business meets the environmental, social and economic principles of implementing strategies in their activities.

The development of the regional economy cannot be carried out without the active participation of companies that operate in these regions.

Experts noted that «today the shift is in the direction of maintaining the economic stability of both the country and the regions». 

“If we talk specifically about the tourism sector and the formation of a tourism brand, sustainability is important for increasing economic efficiency,” said Christopher Konstantinidi, a member of the expert council on tourism of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

Despite the fact that the Krasnoyarsk Territory has the image of an industrial region, the development of tourism in this region is necessary for its sustainable development.

At the same time, according to the Deputy Head of Administration of the Governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Yulia Verkhushina, the development of the region will develop according to the principles of ESG only if the business goals coincide with the development goals of the region.

“... For a long time we did not have a definite concept for the development of the tourism industry in the region, and the administrative body responsible for tourism was just a department under a particular ministry. In 2019, when we were preparing for the Universiade, we realized that if this industry is not developed, then guests will not become our long-term customers. They simply will not come to us again, and the region will lose both in image and economic terms. We decided to create a program of action in this direction. The main tourist potential of the region today is nature and ecology. But how to change the minds of people so that the region is no longer perceived as an industrial region, but as a region of active environmentally friendly recreation? Just saying it is not enough. In accordance with the principles of sustainable development, in this situation it is not necessary to fight the industry, but to make enterprises partners in the implementation of our plans. When plans overlap, it's much more efficient," she said.

Now ESG technologies are an actively developing area in business, and the ESG agenda is becoming more and more relevant for businesses in Russia.

Enterprises have previously implemented the criteria for sustainable development, paying great attention to environmental issues. A single ESG standard has already been formed, where all the work done has been accumulated, and enterprises can evaluate themselves in the ESG rating, since the environmental agenda of industrial enterprises remains a priority.

Therefore, compliance with ESG criteria is becoming one of the key factors when choosing partners, and now companies are actively declaring their environmental and social responsibility.

Within the framework of the forum, companies operating in the Krasnoyarsk Territory shared their experience in doing business guided by the principles of ESG.

Let's take a look at some examples of the implementation of ESG in practice and how it gives impetus to the development of the region.

The largest companies operating in Siberia are SUEK, Segezha and Norilsk Nickel, which is the locomotive of the economy of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. These and other companies do not fail to keep their commitments and are ready to invest in infrastructure and environmental projects. They spoke about their ESG strategies, as well as how their implementation contributes to the sustainable development of the region, creating a favorable social environment and a comfortable living environment for the company's employees, their families, local communities and indigenous peoples.

Thus, Norilsk Nickel shared its ESG initiatives, in particular, presented the Sulfur Program and the region's tourism development plan.

“Norilsk Nickel's portfolio includes many large-scale and even unique ESG projects. Over the past two years, we have developed and implemented a corporate management model in this area,” said Andrey Bugrov, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Development at Norilsk Nickel.

He also noted that the company actively supports the regions of presence, actively cooperating with local authorities and implementing charity programs, creating development centers and medical institutions.

In addition, the company has developed a whole project to support and develop the indigenous peoples of Taimyr and the Kola Peninsula.

One of the regional development programs is the renovation of Norilsk, which will help increase the attractiveness of the city for both local residents and tourists. This, in particular, the implementation of the unique project "Bear Creek" directly in the city. (Editor's note - "Bear Creek" (Медвежий ручей) is the only large company in the Arctic, which is also engaged in the extraction of rare earth materials).

The implementation of such projects means job growth. “We have 6,000 vacancies in Norilsk for 2022 alone…In addition, we are investing heavily in the development of our own personnel training base in the form of a corporate university,” said Nikolay Utkin, Senior Vice President and Head of the Norilsk Division of Norilsk Nickel, during the KEF.

In addition, in 2021 the company launched the Clean Norilsk project as part of the Clean Arctic federal project. In the same year, at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum, the company signed an agreement on the implementation of the Zatundra multifunctional tourism project on the Putorana Plateau. This project will allow organizing recreation for both local residents and tourists, as well as improving the tourist infrastructure in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Another large industrial company, Polyus, which is engaged in gold mining, has also included the development of tourism in its strategic goals.

Despite the fact that companies from mining and metallurgy are as far as possible from the tourism business, they are still interested in developing the attractiveness of the regions in which they operate.

As Viktoria Vasilyeva, director of public relations at Polyus, noted, “The fact is that companies in the mining and metallurgical industries are in fierce competition for personnel. It so happened that the failure in engineering and technical education and the imbalance in the specialties that young people received in previous years have led to the fact that we literally steal highly qualified personnel from each other. After all, people come to work from all over the country. In order for these personnel to go to our region, and for local residents to live there with pleasure and come to work with us, we are also working to increase the attractiveness of these territories for the living. And this exactly coincides with the goals of our regions of presence.”

With the support of the Polyus company, the Stolby nature reserve, which is the main tourist brand of the region, receives the necessary funds for development.

Another of the most popular tourist sites today - the longest staircase in Russia to the Torgashinsky Range - was created with the help of Polyus.

Another Siberian company, Severnaya Zvezda, presented a project for the development of the Syradasai coal deposit in Taimyr as part of a road show. The project includes the creation of a coal mine, the construction of a processing plant and the creation of the necessary infrastructure, including a seaport, a highway, a field camp, a power plant and other facilities that will ultimately improve the lives of local residents, as well as create the basis for business tourism.

In turn, the Kraslesinvest Company presented a project for a biotechnological complex in the Boguchansky District with an investment of more than 150 billion rubles. As a result of the project implementation, infrastructural and social development of the territories is expected: about 3.5 thousand jobs will be created, a new well-maintained residential area with a kindergarten, a school and a sports and recreation complex will be built.

Such a versatile approach to doing business in the region makes it attractive for investment, for the future harmonious development of business, social infrastructure and, as a result, tourism.

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