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Conference: Governance and Corporate Responsibility in Russia

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News from Oct 17, 2014


Die Konferenz widmet sich den Herausforderungen, denen Unternehmen im Rahmen ihrer Corporate-Responsibility-Aktivitäten im heutigen Russland gegenüberstehen. Im Mittelpunkt stehen die Kooperation zwischen Staat, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft und die Notwendigkeit moderner Ge-ellschaften, eine nicht-hierarchische Governance als Antwort auf den gesellschaftlichen Strukturwandel zu praktizieren. Für den Staat eröffnet die Zusammenarbeit mit relevanten Stakeholdern die Möglichkeit, sich in einer zunehmend komplexen Umwelt Informationen zu beschaffen, passgenauere Problemlösungen auszuarbeiten und die Akzeptanz politischer Entscheidungen zu erhöhen. Internationale Akteure, wie Handelsunternehmen, Banken und Investmentfonds, fordern ebenfalls eine Öffnung gegenüber Stakeholdern, um ihre Aktivitäten umwelt- und sozialverträglich zu gestalten. Auch in Russland finden international anerkannte CR-Standards Anwendung auf nationale wie internationale Unternehmen.

Die Konferenz zielt auf einen Austausch zwischen Wissenschaftlern unterschiedlicher Fachdisziplinen und Stakeholdern, die Erfahrungen aus der unternehmerischen und politischen bzw. administrativen Praxis mitbringen.


Prof. Dr. Sabine Kropp, Prof. Dr. Thomas Poguntke, Dr. Johannes Schuhmann


20./21. November 2014, Haus der Universität, Schadowplatz 14, Düsseldorf



Conference Report: “Governance and Corporate Responsibility in Russia”

From 19 to 21 November 2014, an international conference on governance and corporate responsibility in Russia was held in Dusseldorf by the Party Research Institute (PRuF) and the Freie Universität Berlin. The conference was part of a METRO GROUP funded research project on "Regulation by law and social institutions in Eastern Europe", which has successfully been implemented from 2007 until 2011 at the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf. The event has been organized by Prof. Dr. Sabine Kropp (Chair of German Politics ar Freie Universität Berlin & head of the METRO GROUP funded research project), Prof. Dr. Thomas Poguntke (Chair of Comparative Politics & Director of PRuF) and Dr. Johannes Schuhmann (Research Fellow at PRuF & Director, ESG Evrazia).

The conference focused on corporate responsibility challenges that companies face in contemporary Russia. It examined the cooperation and coordination between the state, business and civil society, and the need for modern societies to practice horizontal governance in order to address new societal challenges. The following topics were at the core of the conference:

  • Business, NGOs, and the state: Cooperative management of societal challenges; a comparison of Germany and Russia
  • Stakeholder engagement. International standards – National cultures
  • Corporate responsibility. State and society actors’ expectations of business
  • The role of trade as a driver of social modernization in Russia
  • Supply chain management. The long arm of international corporations
  • Environment. State regulation and voluntary environmental protection
  • Society. Philanthropy as main corporate responsibility obligation in Russia
  • What do business, state and civil society actors expect of academia?

The conference facilitated an interdisciplinary exchange of expertise between academics and practitioners from business, state and civil society. The following experts took part in the panels and working groups:

  • Rainer Agster | Director of Private Sector Co-operation, adelphi
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Bodo Abel | University of Hamburg
  • Tatyana Bachinskaya | Executive Director, Center of Philanthropy Development "Soprichastnost"
  • Prof. Dr. Yury Blagov | St. Petersburg State University
  • Prof. Dr. Katharina Bluhm | Freie Universität Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Jo Crotty | University of Salford
  • Victoria Dolina | CSR & Non-financial Reporting Project Manager, ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.
  • Dr. Marc Jan Eumann | Secretary of State for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Dr. Elena Feoktistova | Director CSR & Non-financial Reporting, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs
  • Dr. Alexey Grigoriev | Vice President Public & Government Relations, METRO GROUP Russia
  • Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Hahn | University of Kassel
  • Prof. Dr. Andrea von Hülsen-Esch | Vice President, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Heiko Hutmacher | Member of the Management Board, METRO AG and METRO Cash & Carry
  • Alexander Ivanov | Manager for Regional Policy, Gazprom Neft
  • Prof. Dr. Natalia Khonyakova | named Severstal Professor, European University at St. Petersburg
  • Alexey Knizhnikov | Coordinator Environmental Policy, WWF Russia
  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Kropp | Freie Universität Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Alexander Krylov | Director, West-Ost-Institute Berlin
  • Monika Lehmhaus | Chairwoman, Committee for Business Development, Tourism and Real Estate, City of Düsseldorf
  • Prof. Dr. Igor Mintusov | St. Petersburg State University and Chairman, Niccolo M
  • Anne Pattberg | Senior Manager Sustainability Services, PwC
  • Prof. Dr. Nikolay Petrov | Higher School of Economics, Moscow
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Poguntke | PRuF, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Natalia Poppel | Head of CSR and Branding Department, Severstal
  • Rob Scholte | Chief Operations & Supply Chain Officer, METRO Cash & Carry
  • Dr. Johannes Schuhmann | PRuF, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and Director, ESG Evrazia
  • Prof. Dr. Marina Sheresheva | Moscow State University
  • Vladimir Shutilin | Manager for Social and Charity Projects, Gazprom Neft
  • Dr. sc. habil. Evgeny Shvarts | Director of Conservation Policy, WWF Russia
  • Dr. Susan Stewart | Deputy Head of Research Division Eastern Europe and Eurasia, German Institute for International and Security Affairs - SWP
  • Claus-Peter Thiessies | Head of International Manufacturing Projects Beauty Care, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
  • Prof. Dr. Vladimir Yakimets | Russian Academy of Sciences

Company presentations demonstrated significant progress in many areas of CR practices in Russia, ranging from labour aspects, HSE, social investments, stakeholder engagement and non-financial reporting to sustainable supply chain management. Generally accepted international principals and standards like the UN Global Compact, GRI guidelines, ISO 26000, AA1000, ISO 14000 are used for fundamental guidance at Russian companies. Many business leaders increasingly view CR as the foundation for an effective business strategy, which includes constructive communication with stakeholders and a system of non-financial risk management.

Cross-industry studies on the implementation of non-financial risk management and reporting, however, reveal that progress varies considerably from industry to industry, with oil, gas, power generation, ferrous metallurgy, mining and forestry being among the leaders. Environmental management, environmental impact and general transparency also differ between state and private companies. Although a government decree requires 22 state companies to publish sustainability reports, only half of them comply with it. Among those, only a few provided reports in accordance with GRI G3.1. However, some of the state companies, e.g. Gazprom and Rosneft, turned out to be among the best performers in disclosing CSR indicators. The speakers also highlighted differences over time. While interaction between business and NGOs was weak and often a source of conflict in the 90s and early 2000s, dialogue has become increasingly constructive since the mid 2000s. Environmental NGOs fought hard to appear on the companies’ stakeholder maps, and first needed to acquire a reputation as partners in stakeholder dialogues. Some of them have now entered the stage of in-depth stakeholder engagement.

It has also been stated that corporate responsibility and cooperation with key stakeholders partly compensate for weak state governance, particularly in the sphere of environmental protection, filling gaps in state regulation and reducing corruption, for example. The main drivers of CR are found in the demands of the global economy as a result of international banks and supply chains, civil society pressure as well as the need to mitigate political risks. Different exposure to these factors explains to a large extent the identified variations between industries. The presentations and discussions also highlighted plenty of challenges, e.g. with respect to education in the field of CR and sustainable development, the openness of the state towards business and the transparency of interactions between business and state.

The conference was generously supported by the METRO-Foundation, the METRO Group, the City of Dusseldorf and Dr. Angelika Schwall-Düren, Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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