St Petersburg – PhosAgro Board of Directors Chairman Xavier Rolet and PhosAgro Independent Director, Chair of the Board of Directors Committee for Sustainable Development Irina Bokova participated in panel sessions on corporate social responsibility and social projects as a way for Russian companies to achieve the goals of sustainable development, on international cooperation and stimulating innovation in the economic and social sectors.
Devising a sustainable development agenda is the focal point of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2019. Opening one of the first panel sessions on the topic, Delovaya Rossiya President Alexey Repik expressed confidence that the forum will contribute to a common understanding among companies that “our efforts aimed at the business environment and supporting not only our employees, but also those who are affected by our business activities, are the building blocks of shareholder value and the most important elements of our competitiveness, both as employers and as partners.”
Along with other leaders of large Russian and international companies, Xavier Rolet and Irina Bokova were key experts in the first day of discussions on various aspects of sustainable development.
PhosAgro Board of Directors Chairman and Independent Director Xavier Rolet said: “Today, sustainable development is a must for any modern global company and those aspiring to become one. Environmental, social and governance criteria de facto have become important indicators of a company’s ability to ensure sustainable growth and value creation.
“In Russia, it is big businesses that sets the tone for sustainable development: every year leaders in different economic sectors launch new projects, be that ecology, social matters or corporate governance, and project costs are now considered strategic investments rather than expenses. There is a growing understanding among shareholders that the moral satisfaction from providing sponsorship to society can and should go hand in hand with business growth.
“The example of PhosAgro, were I recently became Chairman of the Board of Directors, illustrates that one of the world's largest mineral fertilizer producers implements social programmes that are not directly related to the production of fertilizers. The company annually invests RUB 2.5 billion to finance education, medicine, sports, youth and social policies in the regions where it operates. PhosAgro is implementing the ‘DROZD’ programme, the largest project in the field of youth sports with tens of thousands of children taking part every year. Many parents seek to send their children to schools that participate in this project.
“Sustainable development activities take place in parallel with stable dynamic growth of PhosAgro's business. That is to say that by directing our activities to the social sphere, we do not just increase spending, we invest.
“We welcome cooperation in the field of sustainable development and are ready to share our experience with Russian companies, to discuss approaches to sustainable development in order to increase the investment attractiveness of Russian business.”
Speaking at the ‘Business Twenty’ Regional Consultative Forum, PhosAgro Independent Director, Chair of the Board of Directors Committee for Sustainable Development Irina Bokova noted: “As an active contributor to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, I would like to emphasise that this was the result of close interaction between civil society, government and academia on sustainable development issues. It was back then, six years ago, when the private sector became the main partner in the implementation of these initiatives, proposing new ideas and new technologies.
“PhosAgro, where I am an independent director, is one of the world's largest phosphate-based fertilizer producers and it contributes to the development of global science, technology and innovation. PhosAgro is an excellent example of how a private company implements the principles of sustainable development. Six years ago, PhosAgro became the only Russian company in the UN’s history to be selected by UNESCO to provide independent funding for one of the first UN projects aimed at solving global issues of sustainable development – the Green Chemistry programme, under which PhosAgro supports young scientists working on advanced, environmentally friendly technologies. Collaboration has proved to be successful and last year the program was extended to 2022.
“In March of this year, the PhosAgro Board of Directors approved its strategy to 2025, which enshrines the Company’s commitment to 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and established a Committee for Sustainable Development, which I chair.
“PhosAgro believes that all goals should be tackled together and not separately, for example, food and water security, or considering sustainable agriculture development separately from biodiversity. As part of its efforts to ensure food security, PhosAgro participates in the UNESCO and FAO global projects in the field of human health and the environment, as well as combating soil degradation through the development of science, technology and innovation.
“This particular responsible approach to solving problems of sustainable development can inspire all stakeholders to jointly solve sustainable development issues.”