Big businesses take steps to make Moscow a resilient capital

Written by Ross Nicholson on 26 February 2013

Russia has been inconsistent on the low-carbon agenda but big businesses are increasingly recognising the opportunities that sustainable innovation in Moscow will bring.

Moscow from Above
Moscow from Above

When considering those regions that are showing real vision and leadership in the low-carbon revolution, Russia is probably not the first country to springs to mind. Russian political leadership has a reputation for lack of commitment and changing policy on the sustainability agenda. Last month, Russia and other former Soviet Bloc countries confirmed that they will take action against a controversial Kyoto clause that would effectively force them to reduce emissions. The last elections have seen changes in leadership at the Russian Energy Agency and other ministries that have left the country somewhat directionless in terms of a low carbon roadmap.

In the world of business, however, there is a new and growing acceptance of the considerable opportunity that accelerating sustainable innovation in Russia could bring. Exploiting these opportunities will require a shift in trend, particularly when it comes to finding the right kind of people to help companies develop and deliver market strategies for the region.

Those companies need business leaders who offer both on-the-ground and global experience, as well as an in-depth understanding of the low carbon landscape. Finding those people in Russia can be a challenge; with the sustainability sector on the side-lines many of the best people have followed greater career opportunities away from their home country. But this is changing too.

Just as big business is awakening to the opportunity for innovation and market making in the region, leading sustainability professionals are starting to see a career in Russia as a more impactful option. Many Russians are ready to return, excited by the challenge of applying their expertise in their home country as a global expert. For foreign nationals, Russia is a chance to make a real difference at the point of greatest impact.

Changing the course of a ship this size will take some time, but companies at the forefront of sustainable innovation are watching closely. For visionary businesses and business leaders alike, Russia offers an incredible opportunity to deliver meaningful change and transform how this region does business.

Spotlight on Moscow

The Red Square, Moscow

In the capital, evidence of the burgeoning international interest in Russian low-carbon development is clear. Six Degree People recently worked with the Russia New Growth Partnership (RNGP) to appoint energy-efficiency expert Nelly Segisova as Senior Advisor, ahead of an inaugural roundtable in Moscow later this year.

The RNGP seeks to uncover opportunities for practical projects that can help write radically enhanced efficiency into Russia's growth model. The Senior Advisor will lead the development of the RNGP from within Russia, developing strategic partnerships with businesses and regulators and overseeing the inaugural roundtable hosted by Royal Dutch Shell in May.

Meanwhile, the Skolkovo Innovation Centre in Moscow now houses major international companies like Siemens and GE, who are using the centre to build a presence in the region. The strategic goal of the centre is to concentrate international intellectual capital, thereby stimulating the development of break-through projects and technologies.

As of today, we have commitments from industry to locate more than 2500 research and development people in Skolkovo and we expect to increase this number to 6000 people by 2015’, explained Vasily Belov, Executive Director of the Cluster of Energy Efficient Technologies at the Skolvoko Foundation. “This is substantial input into clean-tech development in Russia”.

Categories: Business, Environment, Moscow