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01 Sep 2020

Yury Blagov: the main difference between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change is speed

Yury Blagov, Director of the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, PricewaterhouseCoopers of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) spoke about the role of non-financial reporting in transforming the corporate sustainability model during an online conference of the business media Vedomosti.



Effective corporate reporting today is an important indicator of the company's involvement in the public agenda, which reflects not only financial indicators, but also non-financial ones — environmental, social and management. Every organization should disclose to its investors and other stakeholders how it creates sustainable value and long-term planning.


“The approach to sustainable development is changing meaningfully before our eyes. Today we are not talking about reducing damage, but about the survival of civilization. It is important to understand that the main distinguisher between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change is speed. Markets are changing rapidly, and businesses must be prepared for this. If only yesterday responsible companies had been guided by the “win-win” principle — good for me, good for society and nature…  Now, this is no longer enough. Business needs to dive deeper into solving environmental and social problems. But here it is important to see the line that companies are unable to cross today. To stay in business and minimize potential costs, they must change business models, actively develop intra- and intersectoral partnerships. Under these conditions, non-financial and integrated reporting is the most important tool for transforming the corporate sustainability model. As “pain points” today, one can single out (1) the need to take into account not only the mid-term expectations of stakeholders, but also the UN SDGs when forming materiality matrices; (2) widespread adoption of science-based targets in planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and (3) the use of balanced environmental impact assessment models based on creating value for the stakeholder system in the six-capital format  "used in integrated reporting", — said Yury Blagov. (The six capitals are financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and relationship, and natural. By taking these into account when reporting on performance, a company provides a fuller picture of the way in which it creates value)


The online conference was attended by representatives of state authorities, charitable foundations and organizations, NGO specialists, Heads of large Russian and international companies, universities and educational institutions, industry associations and unions, as well as media representatives.