Konstantin Rzaev speaks to Forbes about the corporate ESG agenda in Russia

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Can corporate investments in sustainable development in Russia support cost optimization? How is business adapting the ESG agenda to current economic and structural challenges? Konstantin Rzaev, co-founder of the industrial consulting group EcoPartners, shared insights into the current trends in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies of Russian companies.
With the departure of international companies, the ESG landscape in Russia has undergone significant changes. The primary focus of Russian businesses today is on implementing social practices that benefit employees and society, understood by consumers.
"With a significant reduction or elimination of PR activities in the sustainable development sphere, greenwashing has also disappeared. Only real projects remain. For companies continuing to invest in the ESG agenda, it has already become part of corporate DNA, HR brand, and a tool for employee engagement and consumer retention. Today, Russian businesses are quickly catching up with international ones in this regard, partly because visionaries realize all the benefits of following sustainable development goals at the corporate level."
The integration of eco-initiatives into business processes also impacts economic indicators. For example, after the adoption of the new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) concept in August 2023, manufacturers producing goods in difficult-to-recycle packaging will have to pay significantly higher eco-fees than those whose packaging is easily collected and reused. Responding to the environmental agenda, consumers will play a crucial role in driving sales growth and brand loyalty.

According to Konstantin Rzaev, investments in ESG in the medium and long term will give companies a larger market share, help retain and attract new employees, ensure respect from government bodies, and establish a sustainable position in the local community.

Read the full interview here.