Sakhalin Energy took part in the first meeting of the Sustainable Development Expert Council under the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.
The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 30 leading Russian and foreign companies and centres of expertise. From now on, the Expert Council will serve as a platform for regular interaction on the sustainability agenda between the ministry and Russian businesses. In addition to Sakhalin Energy, best relevant practices were presented by Rosatom, Sberbank, Metalloinvest, RUSAL, Gazprom Neft and the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. These organisations are integrating the SDGs into their strategies and have already developed plans for implementing sustainable development projects.
During the meeting of the Expert Council, the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Maxim Reshetnikov stressed that the trend towards sustainable development is gaining momentum on a global scale and is creating new niches and new opportunities for businesses and for the country as a whole. He pointed out: “We can say with confidence that this will be one of the main trends that will significantly affect the activities of Russian companies both in the domestic market and in the global arena.”
Maxim Reshetnikov underlined that the Russian government actively supports this agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in general, especially as regards the climate issue. He addressed the participants of the on-line meeting: “We need your feedback. If we know what ideas you have, what projects you are working on, what challenges and opportunities you are facing in foreign markets, we will be able to promptly adjust the decisions we make and, maybe, develop new solutions based on your standpoint — the standpoint of practitioners.”
Before introducing the speakers, the President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Alexander Shokhin drew everyone’s attention to the need for expanding the practice of responsible investment and creating favourable conditions for it, as well as developing high-quality assessment tools. “The growing importance of sustainable development factors creates a demand for the analysis and assessment of these factors in the activities of companies, including within the framework of sustainable development indexes and ratings, e.g., Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indexes. This assessment benefits both investors and responsible companies, and promotes best practices.”
The prospects for the introduction of a carbon‐motivated border tax adjustment mechanism in the European Union was one of the most topical issues discussed at the meeting. The participants agreed that the European cross-border tax, like other forms of carbon pricing that will emerge worldwide in the future, will be a challenge for the Russian economy. For this reason, it is necessary to think over our possible response to a wide range of rising issues: from negotiations with the European Union to measures necessary for the structural transformation of the Russian economy.
During the discussion of the climate agenda and the problems associated with low-carbon development, Sakhalin was repeatedly mentioned as a pilot region which is faced with the task of becoming carbon-neutral. To this end, it is planned to create a carbon regulation mechanism in the region, including for replicating this experience in other regions of the country.
Natalya Gonchar, Head of the Sakhalin Energy Corporate Affairs Department, stressed the driving role of the RF Ministry of Economic Development and the RSPP in the work towards achieving the sustainable development goals: “This work is not limited to special meetings and events. An important accomplishment is that a practical and methodological toolkit has already been developed and is being disseminated throughout the Russian business community. We are actively contributing to this work, supporting the efforts of the government aimed at achieving the SDGs.”
Sakhalin Energy has demonstrated the best social, industrial and environmental practices both at the national and international levels for many years already. One example of our contribution to the climate agenda is the development of an integrated Green LNG strategy, the key goal of which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of effective methods and approaches.
During the discussion, the participants of the Expert Council agreed on topics for further meetings. These include the development of sustainable finance instruments, a system for regular monitoring and evaluation of SDG achievement results, as well as the improvement of carbon regulation in Russia.
5 February 2021