Expanding its regional program, the UN GC Local Network, with the support of the Center of Corporate Medicine, held special thematic sessions in Tomsk on September 9-10, within the framework of the III International Conference “Remote Health Care. Course towards sustainable development" and at the Tomsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The section "New social and environmental investments of business in sustainable development of regions" on September 9 was devoted to progressive corporate strategies and effective regional partnerships with business, which today are increasingly systematically related to the concept of sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals until 2030.
On September 9, the section "New socio-ecological investments of business in the interests of sustainable development of regions" was devoted to progressive corporate strategies and effective regional partnerships with business, which today are ever more systematically correlated with the concept of sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals until 2030.
The new mission of responsible business defines new approaches to cooperation at the level of regions and territories. Social and environmental business investments, the concept of corporate philanthropy and corporate volunteering, traditionally focused on solving local problems and addressing challenges of territorial development, are undergoing changes and moving to a new level. It implies a comprehensive transition from pinpoint effects and actions to long-term programs that are developed and implemented considering sustainable development principles and values, as well as promote rapid development and are designed to stimulate entrepreneurial and civic activity, meaningful volunteering, and long-term systemic changes in the social, environmental and economic spheres with reference to each other.
Participants of the thematic session of the UN Global Compact Network Russia discussed why that was relevant and important both for business and for regions, how it affected not only corporate reputation, but also economic results, profitability and growth, how successful social and environmental programs were modeled and implemented for sustainable development of regions.
Key topics of discussion included:
- Sustainable development of territories in partnership with the private sector. International standards and recommendations;
- New social and environmental investments of business for sustainable development of the regions;
- Special aspects of regional business partnerships in the context of the SDGs. Best practices and approaches;
- Business and human rights, inclusion, diversity and gender balance in corporate social and business strategies. Why is it beneficial?;
- Corporate philanthropy and corporate volunteering for the SDGs. Modern interpretations and practices.
Andrey Antonov, Deputy Governor of the Tomsk Region for Economics, took part in the section, confirming the region's readiness to promote deeper integration of local businesses into global and local processes of sustainable development. Participants and partners of the UN GC Local Network – representatives of large companies leading in the sustainable development agenda – presented their best practices to the regional community, as well as their stand toward scenarios of joint transition to sustainable development.
Petr Korotkov, Counselor for Government Relations, 3M Company in Russia, focused on innovation as the main factor of sustainable business development and implementation of the SDG agenda, revealing the motivation of business to transform strategies and business models for sustainable development, among others in the context of business environment transformation.
Evgenia Chistova, Head of Sustainable Development of VimpelCom PJSC (Beeline), presented the company's flagship projects, which are examples of sustainable business practices as a driver of the region’s socio-economic development. She also drew attention to the main economic and non-economic factors that motivate businesses to become more sustainable, as well as to the relevance of sustainability and the SDGs to business and the role of the “new sincerity” for business today – from product to communication.
Igor Sukhotin, Director of the Social Policy Department of Norilsk Nickel PJSC, spoke about the main progressive tools for sustainable development of territories designed and successfully applied by the company, which several years ago renewed its regional program under the motto "From Paternalism to Partnership". He revealed the objectives and main approaches of the company's charitable and volunteer programs, and the practice and importance of assessing the impact of business on regions development.
Rustam Zakiev, Director of the Social Policy Department of RUSAL and Board member of the Association “National Network of the Global Compact” gave examples of the interrelation of regional corporate and government strategies to promote the development of the territory and revealed the peculiarities of involving regional business in dialogue and activities in the context of the global sustainable development agenda.
There were also presented targeted corporate programs, their functions, features and results (Tatyana Chibrikova, Social and Office Upkeep Complex Director at Severstal Russian Steel Division, spoke on the Severstal’s Health program), specifics of the SDGs synchronization in the retail industry (Vadim Korsun, Head of Environmental Regulation Projects, Government Relations Department, X5 Retail Group), the level and specifics of immersion of regional companies in the ESG agenda (Elena Shestozub, Marketing and Sustainable Development Director Director, the Center of Corporate Medicine Group of Companies), corporate volunteering contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (Irina Zhukova, Chairperson, National Council for Corporate Volunteering). Martin Rich, Сo-Founder & Executive director at Future-Fit Foundation and an expert of the UN Global Compact (Great Britain), joining the section from London, confirmed that Russian business and participants of the UN GC Network Russia had made a big breakthrough in their motivation and practice focused on the Sustainable Development Goals. During the session, an agreement on the establishment of a regional office of the National Council for Corporate Volunteering, a partner of the UN Global Compact Network Russia, in Tomsk was also signed.
The second part of the regional discussion, entitled "Sustainable Development – a New Business Mission", was held on September 10 at the Tomsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The UN GC experts (Igor Sukhotin, Director of the Social Policy Department, Norilsk Nickel PJSC, Elena Shestozub, Marketing and Sustainable Development Director Director, Center of Corporate Medicine Group of Companies, Dmitry Sharkov, Deputy Head of Representative Office in Siberia and the Far East, National Council for Corporate Volunteering, Svetlana Gerasimova, Partner of "Strategies and Practices of Sustainable Development" project office, Head of School of CSR and Sustainable Development, MBA Lecturer at Moscow International Higher School of Business MIRBIS, as well as the Board members of the UN GC Network Russia – Alexander Plakida, Board Chairperson, Deputy Chairman of the Board of ACIG Group, Managing Partner of ACIG Consulting, Elena Feoktistova, Deputy Chairperson of the Board, Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility, Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Natalya Poppel, Sustainable Development Advisor to the General Director, Severstal PJSC, and Rustam Zakiev, Director of the Social Policy Department of RUSAL) gave their opinion on Russian business engagement in the sustainable development agenda and the main events in this area, which became pivotal and key in terms of the progress of Russian business in sustainable development. They also analyzed the specific character of the sustainable development values promotion in the regions and the prospects for involving regional business in sustainable development dialogue.