About the essence of the ESG acronym, Yulia Aray, Associate Professor, Researcher at the CSR Center of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) said at the XX Anniversary National Conference on Microfinance and Financial Inclusion in the session "ESG Standards: An Agenda for Sustainable Development for the Microfinance Market."
The expert noted that the following became the driver of the ESG agenda:
- investor expectations for ESG rankings;
- inclusion of the agenda in the principles for assessing credit and investment risks;
- requirements of international companies;
- tougher requirements for disclosure of information, carbon neutrality.
“Today it is necessary to understand that ESG is not a fashion, it is a challenge of the times. Therefore, it is important that companies and investors take into account ESG principles, which have a strong influence on the sustainability of organizations in the long term, and, taking them into account, determine strategic goals.”
Yulia Aray, Associate Professor, Researcher at the CSR Center of GSOM SPbU
Among the positive effects of following the ESG principles, the session participants named:
- strengthening the reputation of a proactive participant in the financial system;
- confirmation of the existence of long-term benchmarks and a sustainable development strategy both for the market as a whole and for individual companies;
- increasing the attractiveness of microfinance institutions (MFIs) for investors, as well as for participation in concessional lending programs for small and medium-sized businesses;
- a new interpretation of the socially significant activities carried out by IFIs in the regions (charity, volunteering, support for social entrepreneurs).
The event was also attended by Viktor Chetverikov, Managing Director for Development Projects of the National Rating Agency (NRA), and Rostislav Kokorev, Head of the Financial Literacy Laboratory of the Faculty of Economics of The Lomonosov Moscow State University, Corporate Governance Advisor, Forum Analytical Center.
The conference annually attracts more than 600 participants from among the owners and managers of microfinance organizations, credit cooperatives and pawnshops, representatives of federal and regional authorities, international development institutions, the banking and insurance sector and others.