Moscow – Irina Bokova, the Chair of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors Sustainable Development Committee, took part in the plenary session of the 10th Russian Corporate Governance Forum “ESG: Putting Words into Action”.
The discussion, moderated by Elena Dubovitskaya, Director of Corporate Governance and Sustainability at PwC Russia, was organised by PwC and the Independent Directors Association. Other participants included Anatoly Chubais, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Relations with International Organisations to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals; Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia; Alexander Vedyakhin, First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of SberBank; Jyrki Talvitie, Senior Advisor on Sustainability at Magnit; and Tatiana Mitrova, independent director at NOVATEK.
During the panel session, speakers shared different points of view on the topic of sustainable development and shed light on the views of regulators, business, investors and various stakeholders. Participants discussed the current situation, case studies of companies’ ESG practices and future challenges for businesses and boards of directors.
Ms Bokova, an independent director at PhosAgro, agreed that boards of directors were essential in implementing sustainable development strategies. She noted that, in 2019, at the suggestion of Andrey Guryev, PhosAgro’s CEO and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors , PhosAgro developed a Sustainable Development Strategy and established a Sustainable Development Committee. At the moment, Ms Bokova said, PhosAgro’s Board of Directors is developing all of the Company’s social responsibility standards.
Ms Bokova also noted that PhosAgro’s transformation in the area of corporate governance is an ongoing process. At the end of last year, the Board of Directors adopted a number of decisions that also made other Board committees responsible for issues of climate change and equality.
The Chair of PhosAgro’s Sustainable Development Committee stressed the importance of the UN’s creation of a global platform for socially responsible business, the Global Compact, which already has over nine thousand participating companies. Forty-one companies, including PhosAgro, have been granted LEAD status.
“I truly believe that sustainability is a good way to measure a company’s performance; it is a very important factor for analysts, investors and customers. Every company, of course, has to maintain a positive image. For a global business, this image largely depends on the strategy that it follows, on its results and on how committed it is to the principles of sustainable development”, said Ms Bokova.
She added that the achievement of all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals was impossible without the participation of business, because it is the private sector that is striving for growth and innovation, bringing about new solutions and helping social progress, as it is aware of its responsibility to society. At the end of the discussion, Ms Bokova said that sustainable development was the way forward, and that ESG was a great growth opportunity for any company.