Moscow — PhosAgro CEO and President of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association Andrey Guryev took part in the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit.
The online summit was the world’s largest event dedicated to corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, bringing together over 3,000 representatives of business, civil society, governments and UN agencies.
Opening the summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that amid the on-going climate crisis, the pandemic posed another challenge to humanity in the area of healthcare, as well as an associated economic and social crisis. António Guterres welcomed representatives of major companies from different countries that recognise the urgent need for global unity and international cooperation.
“Today the UN Global Compact is a global movement of 10,000 companies, 3,000 NGOs and 68 regional communities. All these people understand that business plays a key role in creating a global economy where society and the planet can flourish. Together, we must focus corporate responsibility on the principles of sustainable development and unite to create a better world,” the UN Secretary-General stressed.
Together with Mr Guryev, Director of the Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Natalya Stapran and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of En+ Group Gregory Barker were honorary speakers on the UN Global Compact Russia panel, entitled “Pivot Point: Perspectives on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. Representatives of VEB Russia, Severstal, Polyus, Tatneft and Polymetal also took part in the discussion.
At the beginning of the conversation, the Chair of the Steering Committee, National Network of the Global Compact, Alexander Plakida, pointed out that in the context of the global pandemic, the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development is more relevant than ever.
“Indeed, the UN SDGs and the principles of the Global Compact are a template for business growth, the foundations for interaction after COVID-19. The success of companies in the field of sustainable development is therefore very relevant,” said PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev in his speech.
He added that PhosAgro, which was named one of 36 Global Compact LEAD companies in recognition of its commitment to the principles of responsible business last year, plans to continue to contribute to the achievement of 10 of the 17 SDGs even during the pandemic.
In particular, the Company was able to maintain uninterrupted operations throughout the pandemic, thanks to the implementation of an effective set of measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 at its enterprises. This has enabled PhosAgro to continue to supply its fertilizers, which set the benchmark for environmental friendliness, to customers in its priority market of Russia and in 102 countries around the world. These fertilizers are key to high crop yields, helping farmers provide safe and high-quality food to the world’s growing population.
Mr Guryev noted that, despite the crisis in the global economy caused by the pandemic, PhosAgro continues to fully comply with its environmental obligations, while also expanding support for local communities in the cities where it operates. In addition, the Company is developing its partnerships in the international arena, including through the UN.
For example, as part of a joint global project dedicated to sustainable agriculture, PhosAgro and the FAO launched a network of soil laboratories in the Middle East and North Africa (RESOLAN NENA) last week. Together with UNESCO, PhosAgro supports young scientists from developing countries through the Green Chemistry for Life grant programme. As a result of the programme, dozens of innovative, environmentally sustainable technologies have been developed.
PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev called on the global business community to come together in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences, while also strengthening its dialogue with the scientific community and the state.
“In business, it is often said that there is opportunity in every crisis. Today, the pandemic has forced humankind to rethink its paths of development and re-evaluate its priorities. It has presented an opportunity for all of us, and we need to take advantage of it by moving towards a sustainable model of development for the benefit of future generations,” Mr Guryev said.
Natalya Stapran, Director of the Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, described a trend that has manifested itself in many countries across the world of shifting away from measuring development through numerical expressions of economic growth in favour of qualitative aspects, which can be measured by progress in achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Today, the topic of sustainable development has acquired a particular significance. We consider it to be a source of new opportunities. It is an opportunity to move to new business models and enter new markets across the entire spectrum of the economy, from food to education, from transportation to healthcare,” noted Ms Stapran. She added that progress in the area of sustainable development is an important reputational factor for business, for which insufficient attention to sustainable development could become a barrier to integration into the international economy.
“I would like to highlight the contribution made by Russian business to the global development agenda — and in particular that of PhosAgro and its leadership They have become one of the engines in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. We have a very close and fruitful cooperation,” Ms Stapran emphasised.