HSE University and Bank of Russia Hold First Russian School on Sustainable Development in Finance
The HSE University Graduate School of Business (GSB) has hosted the Autumn School in ESG Transformation of the Finance Sector. A total of 70 students from Russian universities passed the competitive selection process to take part. The four-day programme was devised and developed by the Central Bank of Russia. The speakers included top managers and regulatory specialists, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, VTB, Sber, Sibur, Gazprombank, Rosatom, Nornikel, VEB.RF, Rusal, and experts from HSE University.
HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov welcomed the participants at the opening of the Autumn School. He noted that the attendees had an unprecedented opportunity not only to learn more about ESG concepts, but to speak directly with representatives of the Bank of Russia, major Russian companies in the finance sector, and industrial enterprises. The rector stressed that ESG is increasingly relevant today, and that studying it allows students to become leaders of strategic transformation.
Ksenia Yudaeva, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia and Professor of the Joint Department with the Bank of Russia at HSE University, spoke about the UN’s sustainable development goals up to 2030. She also spoke about the risks involved in the individual components of environmental, social, and corporate governance. She noted that the global movement towards carbon neutrality remained a central focus even during the pandemic. The speaker and the audience discussed new opportunities and challenges for the finance sector and the Bank of Russia’s sustainable development agenda.
Valery Katkalo, Director of the HSE Graduate School of Business, stressed the key role played by universities and business schools in creating an interdisciplinary ecosystem of sustainable development in Russia. ‘The HSE Business School is a meeting point of scientific expertise, leading business practices and educational solutions in ESG, a community of change leaders who are not only oriented around the economic effectiveness of management, but who also understand its role in solving social and ecological matters,’ he said.
In addition to lectures, the school’s programme included business games, open expert discussions, and interactive participant surveys. Together, the invited experts and audience members discussed a wide range of issues in the ESG agenda, from the transition to a low-carbon economy in Russia and ESG ratings to the problem of ‘greenwashing’, information disclosure in the field of sustainable development, as well as the correlation between climate and credit risks and the role of universities in training sustainable development specialists.
Maxim Soglasnov, 1st-year student of the Master’s in Sustainable Business Management, HSE Graduate Business School
‘Over several days of talking to experts, we immersed ourselves in the topic of sustainable development in a way we never could have by studying independently. The question of the significance of ESG factors is posed directly to Russian companies and the economy as a whole. Keeping up with global trends is development for the country.’
Polina Ponomareva, 1st-year student of the Master’s in National Models of Sustainable Development, MSU Faculty of Economics
‘Sustainable development and ESG are important—we are already experiencing climate change, the need to recycle plastic, and social difficulties. In order to deal with future problems, we need to act now. The things I remember most from the school were the business games. For example, in one of them, we needed to develop a climate strategy for a company, and it was especially valuable to get comments from experts who are professionals in this field.’
Maria Karacheva, 1st-year student of the Master’s in Sustainable Business Management, HSE Graduate Business School
‘I went to the events hoping to immerse myself in the world of ESG for the finance sector and meet real experts engaged in transforming the agenda here and now. I was impressed by the speakers, the lively discussions, and the highly informative answers to our questions. The Telegram chat provided an opportunity to get acquainted with the speakers in advance and keep up with the latest updates to the programme.’
David Gabidullin, 5th-year student of Fundamental Mathematics, MSU Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics
‘It is important to run a business or lead a company with an eye to how your actions affect the world around you, the environment, and the moods of society and your team. Society as a whole is suffering big losses due to climate threats, inequality in terms of rights and opportunities, and low-quality management. By paying sufficient attention to these aspects, we can reduce our losses from the structural changes currently affecting humanity and build a more sustainable society in the future.
As part of the Autumn School programme, we listened to lectures, played business games, and had discussions. I remember the talks by Ksenia Yudaeva, Olga Dergunova (whose honest approach impressed me), Elena Kuritsyna (who effortlessly answered all the questions I was interested in after the lecture), and Henry Penikas (I liked that there was mathematics and econometrics).’