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A Positive Future with Center-invest Bank

Together with the Women Who Inspire platform, Center-invest Bank held a forum “Positive Future: Responsible Consumption and Production”. The event brought together sustainability specialists, eco-entrepreneurs, and residents of southern Russia who care about the future of the planet. Over 100 participants also joined the event from other areas of Russia, thanks to live streaming.

The Chairman of Center-invest Bank’s Executive Board, Lidia Simonova, opened the event. Ms Simonova spoke about the bank’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, and how it is helping to create an ESG mentality among its customers and partners throughout Russia. For the third year in a row, the bank is using ESG metrics to evaluate its contribution to society, the environment, and ecosystem development in the regions where it operates.

The forum was moderated by Olga Vysokova, who is an advisor to Center-invest Bank’s Supervisory Board, a social entrepreneur, and founder of the Women Who Inspire platform and Global Next Gen Community.

“There used to be a view that if we invest in eco projects, we will make less money: you get an emotional return, but not a financial one,” said Olga Vysokova. “Now we don’t need to compromise on profit when investing in sustainable development, and thereby, in our future.”

After the opening sessions, there was a public talk with experts, who shared their experience of responsible consumption and production in various sectors. The participants actively engaged in the discussion, as the topics were of great interest to them: eco-friendly business, establishing new habits of conscious consumption, and integrating sustainable development goals into brand philosophy, together with consumers.

Nikolai Konstantinov, who runs the Telegraph department store in Rostov-on-Don, spoke about how brands are selected for the store. They look for natural materials, a transparent supply chain, and goods made from recycled materials. Moreover, preference is given to local brands so as to support small business in the region and reduce the logistics carbon footprint.

The creators of the K∅d brand, Natasha Timofeeva and Olesya Moldavskaya, in line with the fifth Sustainable Development Goal, reject gender stereotypes. They produce reversible clothing, promoting practicality and minimalism with maximum benefit.

Eco-entrepreneur Nikolai Dikusar has an upcycling business. He makes bags and rucksacks out of old advertising banners, purses and headphone cases from old jeans, and chess sets from milled waste.

The stylist and designer, Vera Pershina, is the co-owner of a boutique selling only Russian brands, including her own brand, “Love is Love”. She takes part in swap markets and organises garage sales. Vera encourages her customers to be conscious consumers: by customising clothes, she gives items a second life.

There was also discussion about waste sorting and recycling in Rostov-on-Don, and raising public awareness about sustainability and conscious consumption.

The main conclusions reached by the participants were: we need to reduce consumption; we should invest in quality not quantity; and practising what you preach is the best way to motivate others.

Center-invest Bank’s employees set a very good example, helping to protect the environment on a daily basis. They use wastepaper and battery recycling bins in the office. They sort waste for recycling, at home and at work, and they cycle to work.

Center-invest Bank’s ESG banking strategy, its adherence to the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking, and its membership of, and active participation in GABV, reinforce its reputation as a bank for which environmental and social responsibility is a priority.