26th of January 2022

On the 26th of January 2022, RAEX-Europe with the support of the Lipetsk region organized the 3rd International Forum "Responsible Investment in the CIS and the Black Sea Region".

Eleven speakers from Russia, Germany, Luxembourg, and the UK participated in the online discussion. More than 440 people from all over the world registered for the event.
This year's speakers included representatives of the AEB Green Finance Workstream, International and Comparative Law Research Center (ICLRC), bne Intellinews, PJSC Polyus, PJSC Sberbank, RSHB Asset Management, Climate Bond Initiative, VEB.RF, Moscow Agency of Innovations (MAI) as well as the Lipetsk and Nizhny Novgorod Region Administrations.
The Lipetsk Region Administration sponsored the event.
During  two sessions, speakers discussed global challenges of CBAM implementation for Europe and Russia, trends and practices of responsible investing, ESG risks and opportunities for Russian export-oriented businesses, challenges for regions during ESG transformation. 
A recording of the event is available on RAEX-Europe's YouTube channel

Forum keynotes:

Ben Aris, Editor-in-Chief of bne Intellinews: "Russia is one of the countries that is going to be hit the most by the CBAM. Still, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding CBAM regulations and companies are trying to plan for this whole scenario, which is not clear at all. They are reacting rather than substantially planning to retransform their businesses. However Russian companies do have the money and have been investing in ESG, and in this sense, CBAM is a competitive advantage for them because they will be able to distinguish themselves from their competitors".
Jean-Claude Knebeler, Head of Sustainability, Centre for International and Comparative Legal Studies "In Russia, the corporate, especially big listed companies have been the drivers of creating the frameworks of communicating the need for change. But now the government must take the initiative, first and foremost, in the development of the legal and regulatory framework, but also the area of international cooperation".
Florian Willershausen, head of Green Finance Workstream, Association of European Businesses (AEB); Creon Capital development director: "In Russia, everything is great with the social component of ESG, because of the legacy of high standards of the Soviet Union. Ensuring environmental responsibility is more complicated task, not because corporations do not want to do it, but because these are very new processes for Russia. However many companies are motivated and trying to follow the emerging environmental standards. The optimal strategy is to be proactive rather than reactive, i.e. anticipating and not just reacting to regulatory requirements". 
Alexander Chaychits, Head of ESG Communications, Polyus: "For corporates ESG used to be a subject of dialogue with the government, local communities. Now investors have become important stakeholders. They will not invest in you if you are not sustainable". 
Alexey Bogomolov, Director for development of partnership programs with Russian and international organizations at RSHB Asset Management: "Over the last decade, ESG and impact investments became an everyday business in the international asset management industry. Climate change impact investments are on the top of agenda among responsible investments."
Ivan Barsola, Executive Director, ESG Department, Sberbank: "Banks are now a conduit for new ESG ideas and practices. Covenants in this regard are a great tool and opportunity for companies to reduce and mitigate ESG risks." 
Sean Kidney, co-founder, and CEO of Climate Bond Initiative: "Russia needs to overcome investors' fears of the European market. Certification helps in this, as does the development of the domestic market." 
Dmitry Aksakov, Executive Director, Head of ESG Banking at VEB.RF: "Sustainability-linked bonds are starting to be of interest to governments. In the nearest future, regions can also use such bonds, choosing, for example, the Quality of Life Index as their KPI. 
Evgenia Loktionova, Head of Investment and Innovation Department of Lipetsk Region: "In order to attract investors to the region, it is primarily necessary to create unified metrics of ESG data disclosure"
Andrey Betin, Deputy Governor of Nizhny Novgorod region: "ESG model can become a support for the region management. Efficient implementation of the sustainable development strategy of the region will be ensured by close cooperation and collaboration of government, business, and public".
Alexei Parabuchev, Director General of Moscow Innovation Agency: "Innovation is important for the development of ESG agenda in Russia. Fortunately, there is a large layer of companies developing sustainable solutions that are already being used in urban projects in all three areas of ESG. Without technological innovation, it is impossible to achieve success in ESG".
This year's event took place entirely in an online format in English and Russian with simultaneous translation. Speakers' presentations will be available to registered participants of the conference.