The macro dimension of the ESG paradigm – Valdai Club
The growing importance of the ESG agenda at the company level requires a transformation of national policies relating to companies and sectors, writes the program director of the Valdai Club. Yaroslav Lissovolik. In particular, countries’ industrial policies aimed at stimulating the growth and development of priority sectors are likely to incorporate elements of ESG conditionality that oblige companies to comply with environmental / social / governance standards in return for state support.
The application of ESG principles (environment, social, governance) has been explored mainly at the company level, with less attention given to issues of compatibility of macroeconomic policies at country and regional level with these principles. However, there are signs that regulatory regimes and macroeconomic policies are increasingly geared towards ESG principles and human capital development. Russia’s macroeconomic requirements related to the ESG agenda relate to issues such as the implementation of national projects, the functioning of economic policy rules and the broadening of the scope of green finance instruments.
The ESG framework is not yet familiar to most Russians – according to the Ivanov survey conducted by Sber CIB Investment Research, nearly ¾ of the population has not heard and does not know ESG principles while only 6% know ESG and can explain what it is. about. At the same time, the Russian population is clearly increasingly concerned about the main elements of the ESG agenda, including environmental issues. In particular, the most recent polls from the Levada Centers (the regular polls asking Russians about their top concerns) suggest that the share of people concerned about the state of the environment has nearly doubled in the past 5-6 years. the issues (availability of medical care, income inequalities) as well as governance (corruption) also present an upward dynamic in terms of popular concerns. This in turn is likely to lead to the transformation of the consumption preferences of the population, with goods and services with higher environmental and social standards being given priority.
At the macro level, the main platform for the implementation of the ESG agenda in Russia lies in the national projects, the key elements of which can be linked to the respective elements of the ESG framework. In particular, the ecology project corresponds to the “Environment” element, projects such as demography, education and health belong to the “Social” category, while the digital economy component can be associated with the potential for development. ‘Improvement of “Governance” at the macro level. Taken together, all projects that fall under the ESG account for almost 43% of the funding of all national projects and the reviews in recent years have been geared towards increasing the share of social projects.