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Green Future of Banks: regional aspect of sustainable development of financial organizations


On December 14, 2021, an online conference "Green Future of Banks: regional aspect of sustainable development of financial organizations" was held  as part of the long-term program "Time for New Strategies". 

The program is organized by the Public chamber of Krasnodar region, the AEB Southern regional Committee, the Association "Agency for investment and international cooperation", the Krasnodar regional branch of RSPP and Russian-English socio-political weekly "Yug Times".

At the beginning of her greeting, the moderator of the event, Director of the Krasnodar branch of the Center-invest bank, Diana Lipinskaya, stressed that ESG banking is one of the key areas in the development of the principles of sustainable development and the ESG agenda. According to the latest surveys of the rating agency "Expert RA", it is the banks that are at the forefront of this important and relevant topic and determine the principles of the ESG agenda in Russia and in the world.

Dmitry Cheltsov, Deputy CEO and GR-Director of the Association of European Businesses (Moscow), in his greeting noted that the Association constantly analyzes current issues in the field of "green" economy, is in close contact with key market players and government authorities. In addition, since 2020, AEB has been implementing the global Green Initiative project aimed at promoting the principles of sustainable development and ESG principles in the working agenda of companies operating in the Russian market.

Oleg Zharko, Chairman of the AEB Southern regional Committee, regional Corporate Affairs Director of the group of companies Danone in Russia, stressed that within the framework of the long-term program "Time for New Strategies", a series of events dedicated to ESG principles was held. This topic remains in the focus of attention of all the companies of the committee, the authorities of the Krasnodar Territory, and the consolidation of efforts of all participants in the process will make it possible to build economic policy in accordance with global trends. The topic of ESG banking is relevant for the committee: in the Southern Regional Committee, the banking sector is one of the most numerous, this includes all significant banks with foreign participation represented in the region: Raiffeisenbank, Unicredit Bank, Center-invest, Banca Intesa, Rosbank.


Alisa Andreeva, Chairman of the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility of the Krasnodar Regional Branch of the RSPP, Manager for Corporate Affairs of the region of Philip Morris International (PMI) affiliated companies in Russia, and Alexey Petukh, Deputy Chairman of the Commission on the Development of the agro-industrial sector and Integrated Rural Development of the Public Chamber of the Krasnodar Territory, also addressed the conference participants with their welcoming speeches.

One of the key speakers of the conference was Andrey Yakushin, Head of the Corporate Relations Development Department of the Corporate Relations Department of the Bank of Russia (Moscow). In his presentation, he noted the importance of promoting the sustainable development agenda in the regions and achieving climate goals, which will improve the standard of living of Russian citizens. According to Yakushin, there is already a rapid growth of foreign and Russian markets for sustainable development, the market of "green" bonds.

State regulators cannot stay away from the ongoing process: to positively solve the problem of energy transfer, assess and minimize risks, and distribute financial flows, an NGFS Financial System Greening Network has been created, which includes 83 central banks and financial supervisors, including the Central Bank of Russia. In addition, the Central Bank of Russia has developed several fundamental documents on the ESG agenda, as well as identified the main tactical objectives. Andrey Yakushin also noted that this topic is in the focus of attention of all world countries.

Margarita Grosheva, Deputy Executive Director for Guarantee Activities of the Krasnodar Territory Business Development Fund, especially stressed that the Fund, as a financial institution for supporting small, medium and micro-entrepreneurship, is ready to act as a guide for the implementation of measures to support the "green" economy, especially among companies operating only in the regional market. Already now the fund has taken several measures aimed at modernizing enterprises, a positive solution to the environmental issue.

Natalia Minzhulova, Managing Director of the Southern Branch, Director of the Southern Regional Center of Banca Intesa JSC, noted that the bank became one of the first European financial organizations to join all UN initiatives aimed at financing the sustainable development sector. In particular, the organization supports responsible development of banking, responsible investment, sustainable development of insurance and the empowerment of women as the implementation of the principle of gender equality. Intesa Bank calls the creation of reliable financing worthy of the trust of its depositors, the implementation of innovations in business and the principles of transparency and honesty in the service of the real sector of the economy its main obligation to customers.

Sergey Smirnov, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board for Reporting, Analytics and Finance of Center-Invest Bank (Rostov-on-Don), spoke about the positive experience of the bank in implementing and developing the basic principles of sustainable development in its activities. Thus, Center-Invest Bank has been implementing energy efficiency projects since 2005, solar panels have been installed in all the bank's offices in Russia, an annual ESG report has been issued for more than 10 years, among the bank's products there is a "Green" deposit, which has no analogues in other Russian banks. As of today, 3,285 "green" deposits have already been issued in the amount of 1,543 million rubles. Center-Invest Bank actively works with its clients on credit products based on ESG risk assessment, regulating the % rate on the loan and other credit conditions.

Sergey Smirnov also expressed gratitude to the Association of European Businesses, as well as the Southern Regional Committee for the opportunity to inform the Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina about the bank's introduction of a new form of ESG balance.

Evgeny Panasenko, Head of the Ernst & Young consulting company in the Southern Federal District, noted that the company is actively working on the global market to standardize and promote the sustainable development agenda. For 6 years, EY has been conducting research on the issue of global investors from 19 countries, including Russia, on the conditions for making investment decisions in accordance with the ESG principles. Here, according to Yevgeny Panasenko, there is a positive trend, as well as high awareness of investors. Thus, 74% of investors from 320 companies who took part in the survey are ready to withdraw from the project, where ESG indicators are low, 90% of respondents follow the "green" component of the project more closely, 92% decide depending on the potential benefits of the course for a "green" recovery. But at the same time, it becomes clear that investors are slowly changing the course already laid down: only 44% of the companies that participated in the study changed their strategy. One of the main problems investors call the lack of mandatory ESG reporting standards. At the same time, EY itself is an example of the positive implementation of ESG principles in its work, further expansion of these principles is provided for in the company's development strategy until 2030.