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The National Sustainable Development Forum is the third annual project run by the business newspaper Vedomosti. Today, the forum is one of Russia's most prominent platforms for responsible business leaders and international experts to discuss and exchange views on the vital aspects of transforming strategic corporate approaches and practices for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Sustainable development is the global community's mandatory new paradigm for the development of humankind and the planet. The private sector has a significant role to play in promoting
and improving the effectiveness of its implementation. In the context of the global sustainability agenda, national governments, civil society and the global business community must be unified like never before to transition away from the now dominating concepts of financial profit, short-term results, unrestrained growth, resource imbalance and disrespect for crucial human rights, and towards the more progressive and promising, economically viable and synergistic concepts
of supportive, adaptive, fair, inclusive, resource-friendly and human-oriented development that ensures a decent future for all now and for future generations.

The concept of sustainable development, formulated and supported by the United Nations, calls for systemically integrated consideration of the economic, social and environmental impacts
of all activities in reference to each other, rather than separating them. Based on this concept, businesses can help resolve the most acute global issues (ecology, ecosystem and climate degradation, adaptation to new natural phenomena, biological diversity and co-existence of species, starvation, poverty, inequality, unavailability of modern resources, etc.) and improve modern geological systems at all levels for the benefit of everyone on the planet.

While following these goals, global business leaders have come a long way in understanding
the specifics of the sustainable development agenda for the private sector. They have intensified
and extended their efforts to assemble business and sustainable development strategies, while taking on greater social responsibility, accountability and multi-format partnerships to support the SDGs.

Today, Russian business is a fully-fledged and proactive participant in the global corporate transformation process. It plays an important role in international discussions around standards
and their possibilities. In 2020, the process received special impetus, and in 2021 much greater attention has been paid to the subject from the governmental and expert communities, along with
an impressive effort from Russian business in the sphere of sustainable development. In the Russian business environment, global trends are being synchronised with local and corporate priorities. New initiatives and projects that are fundamentally different from traditional and common ones are being launched based on sustainable development values. Changes related to ESG- and SDG-oriented elements are becoming increasingly evident and visible in all business system functioning directions: monitoring and control; finance, investment and contract relationships; production, consumption; scientific and innovative research; communication, marketing and impact assessment; as well as in accounting.

This shift opens new opportunities and helps Russian companies compete in the global market.
It also poses new issues and challenges for business, governmental authorities and regulators.

Experts and forum participants will share their views on the most important and topical issues and challenges. They will provide practical examples and case studies of Russian business as a global player in the sustainability agenda at the international, national, corporate and professional levels.

How clear and understandable for are the government's signals for business in the context of its national sustainable development policy How can we strengthen Russian business's standing in global markets by increasing pressure from non-economic factors? Is the government planning to take additional steps to support and stimulate business in the sphere of sustainable development in the near future, and what is the best international experience available in this area? The rapid real-time changes taking place in Russia's governmental and corporate sectors concerning the climate agenda will be the main focus of the discussion. It will examine Russian firms' real ambitions and potential, as well as initiatives included in the climate agenda at a more advanced stage.

The unprecedented extension of the boundaries of responsibility and strategies in the sphere of sustainable development results in changes to corporate management systems. These are also intended for managing sustainable development processes at the board and CEO levels. What approaches is business taking in 2021 to evaluate its impact, both positive and negative? What is the functionality and KPIs of corporate functions in sustainable development? Given the increasing interest in the Agenda-30 regionalization initiative, the agenda will also include questions concerning interrelations between corporate and national territorial development strategies, problems related to the consistency and the results of business's involvement in regions' social and economic development, along with the voluntary regional, municipal, and international SGD initiatives that local businesses can support.

Forum guests
Representatives of executive and legislative authorities, international institutions, UN Global Compact, local networks of the UN Global Compact, UN initiatives and agencies, diplomatic missions; top management of large businesses (Russian and international corporations and companies), leading banks and investment institutions; leaders of business associations (unions), initiatives and companies working in the interests of sustainable development; representatives
of public and non-governmental organisations and media; international experts.

AGENDA

9:00 am – 9:30 am. Participant registration and morning coffee

9:30 am – 10:30 am. The opening of the Forum's business meeting

10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Panel discussion. Agenda-2030 in Russia. Have we passed the turning point?

Topics for discussion

· SDGs on the agendas of governmental, business, and non-profit organizations. Has Russia really turned toward sustainable development?
· Global resource markets? Current trends and experiences.
· Geo-economic transformation prognoses.
· Market competitiveness factors in the context of sustainable development.
· Russian business as sustainability player (international, national, corporate, expert level).
· International sustainable development expertise.
· Lack of sustainable development expertise for business in Russia.
· International sustainable development platforms and discussions (2021). The role
and voice of Russian businesses.
· New approaches, risks, and opportunities during the pandemic.

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm. Break

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Strategic session. Companies' ambitions in the sphere of climate and ecology

Topics for discussion


· Does the Russian business community share the revolutionary ideas about the planet's future
(the Green Revolution, the Energy Revolution, etc.)?
· The signs (characteristics) of economic growth process without damaging the climate
and environment.
· Viable niches for ecology- and climate-oriented strategies: the «green,» «blue,» cyclic economy, bioeconomy, etc.
· Ambitious strategies and initiatives by Russian companies in the climate sphere.
· New approaches to environmental management and audit. International
and national standards.
· Investment, financial, and corporate impetus and the new ESG reality.
· Russian «green» brands and their prospects in international markets.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm. Lunch break

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Case session. Impact in the context of the SDGs. Management of sustainable development and and assessment of corporate influence

Topics for discussion

· Management of sustainable development as a challenge to the corporate management system.
· Sustainable development in the boards of directors and CEO agenda.
· Modern functionality and KPI of corporate functions in sustainable development.
· Boundaries of corporate strategy in sustainable development: from ecology
to gender equality. Are the preconditions there?
· Impact. Assessment and measurement methods.
· Transparency and non-financial reporting: the new horizons.

5:00 pm – 5:15 pm. Break

5:15 pm – 6:30 pm. Round table discussion. Sustainable cities and regions of the future. Business's role in the formation of regional sustainability

Topics for discussion

· Interrelations between regional corporate and governmental territorial development strategies. Problems, controversies, and prospects.
· Business involvement developing the regions of presence. Consistency and results.
· Assessment of sustainable development in cities and territories. What parameters
and evaluation criteria do businesses employ?
· Cities of future - a new mission for businesses. International and domestic experience.
· Synchronizing sustainable development goals with corporate work.
· Can sustainable development work be a factor to improve government relations?
· Effective dialogue with local communities. Effective practices.
· From paternalism to partnership. Experience and new formats of partnership between companies and regions.
· Voluntary regional SDG reviews. Current states and goals.
· The UN Global Compact – Cities Program and other international sustainable
development initiatives for municipalities and regions.

6:30 pm. End of the business program, cocktail reception