DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro and head of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association, took part in a panel session called 'Fathers and Sons: ESG Issues and the Generation Gap', which took place at Russia House as part of the business programme of the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos.
The panel also included Greg Abovsky, Operating and Financial Officer at Yandex; Alexander Ivlev, CIS Managing Partner, Deputy Regional Accounts Leader for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe & Central Asia at EY; Aleksey Kozlov, Member of the Management Board and Managing Director at SIBUR; Brian Pallas, Founder, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer at Opportunity Network; Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Christoph Schweizer, Managing Director, Senior Partner and Chairman for Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East at BCG; and Alexei Yakovitsky, Global Chief Executive Officer at VTB Capital.
Panel moderator Tom Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of the corporate communications agency EM, started the discussion by noting that the forum in Davos, where US President Donald Trump and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg spoke with opposing views on environmental issues, was a clear illustration of the generation gap.
Mr Blackwell asked Mr Guryev whether constructive dialogue between generations was possible despite seemingly radical differences.
"To solve any problem, you need a balanced, constructive approach. Instead of going to extremes, we must work together to solve existing problems."
"It is clear that responsible businesses today recognises that, without a commitment to the principles of sustainable development, we will not be able to tackle the challenges that we are already aware of: the need to ensure food security for a growing population, the threat of soil degradation and environmental problems."
"The example of PhosAgro is meaningful in this context. With our fertilizers being used in 102 countries around the world, we are one of the guarantors of global food security. Our environmentally friendly fertilizers do not harm the soil, which is especially important in view of the urgent issue of soil degradation."
"We understand our global responsibility, and we are making a real contribution to the achievement of 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Company's success has drawn the attention of the UN: PhosAgro was granted LEAD status as one of the 36 most engaged participants of the Global Compact, a platform for socially responsible businesses that are making considerable contributions to the achievement of the SDGs."
"And more and more attention is being paid to sustainable development in Russia in general. Russia acceded to the Paris climate agreement. The SDGs are the basis for 12 national projects approved by presidential decree. Leading [Russian] companies in terms of sustainable development have declared their commitment to the SDGs; they have identified priorities and indicators and are making them a part of their strategies and operational activities," said PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev.
He added that Russian agribusiness is able to produce the safest food in terms of human health by using environmentally friendly Russian fertilizers that are free from concentrations of cadmium and other harmful substances.
"In this context, Russian President Vladimir Putin's initiative to create a 'Green Standard' for environmentally friendly agricultural products from Russia is very timely. It will emphasise the environmental friendliness of Russian agricultural products throughout the food production chain from soil to plates, guarantee their safety in terms of human health and confirm the Russian agricultural sector's competitive advantage in global markets. PhosAgro has been playing an active role in the development of the Green Standard. In Davos, my colleagues and I have been discussing the issue of stepping up concerns for human health in this context," said Mr Guryev.
Christoph Schweizer, Managing Director, Senior Partner and Chairman for Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East at BCG, noted that food market research has confirmed a willingness on the part of consumers to pay for properly produced goods. According to Mr. Schweizer, ESG issues add value rather than taking it away.
"In addition, companies that demonstrate success in terms of ESG attract excellent, highly motivated and highly educated employees. Consequently, we have a lot of evidence that investing in ESG is profitable", said Mr. Schweizer, adding that the leaders of many large companies from the generation of 'fathers' see ESG issues in the same way as the younger generation."
According to VTB Capital Global CEO Alexei Yakovitsky, good ESG performance gives Russian companies "an opportunity to stand out and create a kind of premium" for their valuation.
"If you take a look at this issue and study it, a huge number of leaders in the chemical industry, fertilizers, steelmaking and the electric-power industry are starting to issue or have already issued debt instruments that include a certain premium – a reduced rate – primarily by European investors, for compliance with environmental regulations. Russia, even in the European context, is at the forefront," said Mr Yakovitsky.
He added that ESG could be the factor that sets geopolitics aside and serves as the basis for higher valuations of Russian assets by investors. Alexander Ivlev, CIS Managing Partner, Deputy Regional Accounts Leader for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe & Central Asia at EY, agreed with the other participants and confirmed that the performance of Russian companies in terms of ESG was no worse than that of leading global companies. This is particularly important, as ESG issues are becoming some of the decisive factors when making investment decisions.
"The statistics are clear: five years ago, only 50% of investors were demanding non-financial reporting. Today, 97% of investors who show up to discuss investment opportunities are asking for non-financial reports about the companies they're investing in," said Mr Ivlev.
PhosAgro (www.phosagro.com) is one of the world's leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers in terms of production volumes of phosphate-based fertilizers and high-grade phosphate rock with a P2O5 content of 39% and higher. PhosAgro's environmentally friendly fertilizers stand out for their high efficiency, and they do not lead to the contamination of soils with heavy metals.
The Company is the largest phosphate-based fertilizer producer in Europe (by total combined capacity for DAP/MAP/NP/NPK/NPS), the largest producer of high-grade phosphate rock with a P2O5 content of 39% and one of the leading producers of MAP/DAP globally, one of the leading producers of feed phosphates (MCP) in Europe, and the only producer in Russia, and Russia's only producer of nepheline concentrate (according to the RAFP).
PhosAgro's main products include phosphate rock, 39 grades of fertilizers, feed phosphates, ammonia, and sodium tripolyphosphate, which are used by customers in 100 countries spanning all of the world's inhabited continents. The Company's priority markets outside of Russia and the CIS are Latin America, Europe and Asia.
PhosAgro's shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange, and global depositary receipts (GDRs) for shares trade on the London Stock Exchange (under the ticker PHOR). Since 1 June 2016, the Company's GDRs have been included in the MSCI Russia and MSCI Emerging Markets indexes.
More information about PhosAgro can be found on the website: www.phosagro.com.