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Canadian and Russian businessmen discussed Corporate Social Responsibility practices in the context of Sustainable Development at the CRBC Conference in Moscow, Russia

05 Jul 2019 3:00 AM | Alexander Belyasov (Administrator)


On June 20, 2019, Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA), the Russia Canada Business Council (RCBC) and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), held an RCBC conference on Corporate Social Responsibility, linked to the 15th Anniversary of the Russia Canada Business Council (RCBC). The event was titled "The impact of the concept of Sustainable Development on business strategy and CSR business practices", and took place at the RSPP premises in Moscow, Russia. 

The objective of the event was to provide a platform for the representatives of Russian and Canadian companies to discuss the effective practices of Russian and Canadian businesses in the field of CSR and Sustainable Development, and to demonstrate the impact of these programs on companies’ bottom lines, including reduction or prevention of risks, meeting investors’ expectations, attracting highly qualified specialists, and generally maintaining a balance between the interests of the company and its stakeholders and the needs of the community under the general concept of Sustainable Development.

The Plenary session featured speeches by Alexander Shokhin, the President of RSPP, Nathan Hunt, the Chairman of the CERBA Moscow Board, Andrey Varichev, General Director of MC Metalloinvest and Executive Director of Russia Canada Business Council (RCBC), Mr. Alisher Usmanov, RCBC Co-Chair from the Russian side, (conveyed by Mr. Varichev), Stéphane Jobin, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of Canada in the Russian Federation, and Valery Timashov, Head of the Department of the North America, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Speakers emphasized the importance and relevance of the event agenda, and similarities between the economies of Canada and Russia that make possible a successful exchange of experience and identification of the most effective CSR practices that business can use to solve their immediate problems.

Welcome speeches were followed by on official RCBC Award Ceremony. On the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the Russia Canada Business Council  (RCBC), the following Russian and Canadian representatives received awards for their outstanding contribution to the development of business relations between Canada and Russia:  Alexander Shokhin, President, RSPP, Elena Feoktistova, Deputy Chairman of the RSPP Committee on CSR and demographic policy,  Stanislav Borodyuk, Vice-President and Head of the Moscow Representative Office, Kinross Gold Corporation, Alexander Ivlev, CIS Managing Partner,  Ernst & Young, and Neil Withers, Chairman, CFA Association Russia.

One of the brightest projects presented at the conference was "Kupol" Foundation, founded by Kinross Gold Corporation with the objective to make a contribution of to the socio-economic development of Chukotka and to assist in improving the quality of life of the local population. The fund has been working with the indigenous population of Chukotka since 2009 by supporting folk crafts, small and medium-sized businesses, financing education and health care. Over the past 10 years, "Kupol" Foundation has made a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of Chukotka by carrying out 162 projects in various fields such as healthcare, education, entrepreneurship and traditions of indigenous people. Acknowledging the 10th Anniversary of "Kupol" Foundation, and recognizing its outstanding contribution to the development of the indigenous communities of the Russian North, Siberia and Far East regions, the Russia Canada Business Council (RCBC) presented the certificate of honor to Lyudmila Danilova, Executive Director of the "Kupol" Foundation.

The plenary session was followed by the two Keynote Presentations. Neil Withers, Chairman of CFA Association Russia, has delivered the presentation "Shareholders and investors are still your main stakeholders”, where he looked at the Corporate Social Responsibility from the professional investors’ points of view, and shared practical suggestions from a global survey that included Russia. Alexander Ivlev, CIS Managing Partner and Deputy Regional Accounts Leader for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe & Central Asia, Ernst & Young made a speech on the topic "Will companies that society needs be the only ones to survive?", highlighting the main recent trends that influenced the transformation of the modern business.

The event included two panel discussions. The first discussion was devoted to corporate business practices in the field of environmental protection in the context of Sustainable Development concept. The panel was moderated by Dr. Evgeny Shvarts, Director for Conservation Policy of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia. In the modern world, the environmental problem is very acute, and business cannot ignore it. Top experts from Canadian companies -  Kinross Gold Corporation, BRP, Wood PLC Russian companies as En+ Group, Rosatom, SIBUR, Segezha Group, spoke about cases on forest restoration, careful use of resources, separate waste collection, as well as innovative projects for the development of environmentally friendly packaging, new types of metals, and generally about the “Green production” concept. All participants agreed that, besides a positive effect on the state of the environment, the environment protection practices can also positively affect the profitability of the business - saving resources practices, for instance, can significantly reduce manufacturing and other costs. As Leslie Quinton (BRP) summarized it, “despite the fact that at first environmental projects may require certain costs, in the long term they pay off in full.”

The second panel discussion on the topic "CSR Practices in Relations with Stakeholders” was moderated by Elena Feoktistova, Managing Director of the Department on Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship of RSPP, Deputy Chairman of the RSPP Committee on CSR and demographic policy. The discussion focused on the issue of the company’s successful interaction with its various stakeholders, which is one of the key principles of corporate social responsibility, as well as a way to maintain a balance of interests, and a risk management factor. The panel featured representatives of Hatch, ERM, Buhler/Rostselmash, EuroChem Group, MC Metalloinvest, AFK Sistema, Severstal, Norilsk Nickel, and "Kupol" Foundation. During the discussion, panel participants agreed that correct management of community relations, community development and early planning could bring a lot of benefits to the company in the long term, and also acknowledged the importance of the supply chain management.


Summing up the results of the conference, Nathan Hunt and Elena Feoktistova expressed satisfaction that the issues on the agenda of the conference aroused keen interest of the expert community, and were the base for an interesting and fruitful discussion, equally beneficial for both parties. They also emphasized a very important conclusion made on the basis of the participants' speeches – a well-implemented CSR policy can not only significantly improve the company's image, but also significantly strengthen its position in the market. In words of Nathan Hunt, "… CSR is not only about what is "good", it is also a financial benefit for a company that practices this approach." Elena Feoktistova acknowledged that the conference featured “a serious and productive conversation, it is good that it was possible to combine the experience of RSPP, our best industrialists, and Canadian companies that have a great tradition of CSR”.

The conference was attended by more than 120 representatives of the major Russian and Canadian businesses, and demonstrated that Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the areas with great potential for the facilitation of the Russia Canada business dialog.  In a more general sense conference demonstrated that both sides are interested and willing to support the promotion of such a dialog. CERBA consider this event to be a big success and an important step toward further improvement of the business dialog and cooperation between Canada and Russia.

CERBA also would like to express its sincere gratitude to the event sponsors: Kinross Gold Corporation, Metalloinvest and Orion Heritage.

              


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

Welcoming words

Alexander Ivlev, Ernst & Young

Выживут только те компании, которые нужны обществу

Neil Withers, CFA Association Russia

Global ESG Integration Study. CFA Institute and PRI. “Shareholders and investors are still your main stakeholders”

Dmitry Kolchugin, AFK Sistema

Взаимодействие со стейкхолдерами в контексте ESG

Nikolai Ivanov, Segezha Group

Бизнес-стратегия в контексте устойчивого развития. Процесс и результаты

Anton Butmanov, En+ Group

Sustainable development: at the heart of En+’s business model

Dmitry Kladkov, Buhler/Rostselmash

Ростсельмаш. Корпоративная социальная ответственность

Viktor Silin, Kupol Mine, Kinross Gold Corporation

Влияние повестки (целей) устойчивого развития на стратегии бизнеса и практику КСО. Экологическая открытость как основа КСО

Lyudmila Danilova, "Kupol" Foundation

10 лет Фонду социального развития «Купол»

Yulia Mazanova, MC Metalloinvest

Практика по взаимодействию с заинтересованными сторонами в контексте устойчивого развития и стратегии бизнеса

Maxim Remchukov, SIBUR

Корпоративные практики в сфере окружающей среды в контексте ЦУР-2030 в Компании СИБУР

Vladimir Torin, EuroChem Group

Устойчивое развитие городов присутствия – политика КСО компании ЕвроХим

Leslie Quinton, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP)

Best practices in CSR: BRP’s initiatives worldwide

Sergey Bourtsev, ERM Eurasia

ERM и Устойчивое развитие. ERM and Sustainable Development

Robert Machowski, Hatch Russia and CIS

CSR Conference. Relations with Stakeholders