Work hard and you will find success

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The VIIIth Ecological Forum: clean business means clean air

18 october 2019
ecoforum_logo_eng.pngDespite the fact that greenhouse gas emissions in Russia have halved over the past three decades, the country’s business and government authorities still have a lot of work to do within the National Ecology Project. This was stated during the plenary meetings at the VIIIth Ecological Forum in Moscow.Vladimir Loginov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology noted that by the end of 2024, the total emissions in Russia for the reporting year should be reduced by 22%. Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs said that the lion's share of expenses - 80% - for the implementation of the National Ecology Project is borne by business. 
In addition to reducing atmospheric discharge, one can also predict a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions due to the modernization of large industrial enterprises, Vladimir Loginov emphasized in his speech, noting that a constructive dialogue between business and the state is important in implementing the planned environmental programs.
The State Duma of the Russian Federation believes that not everything goes smoothly in the work on the national environmental project and that its implementation may be delayed. According to Vladimir Burmatov, Head of the State Duma Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection, the Clean Air Program is in jeopardy due to the fact that the government agencies responsible for it have not yet completed the development of regulatory documents and the regions do not receive the necessary funding. 
Meanwhile, Vladimir Grachev, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the Central Council of the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature said in his speech at the forum that air pollution in Russia is a big problem and indicated an increase in dioxin emission standards. He also said that the maximum concentration of 29 harmful substances in Russia is ten times higher than the level of acceptable risks. 
However, according to Alexander Shokhin, the lag in the implementation of environmental programs will be overcome in 2020 both in terms of the legal framework and financing. At the same time, he strongly opposed the bill submitted to the government by the Ministry of Economic Development proposing to introduce a carbon tax starting from 2025 onwards. 
Russia is the only country in the world that uses zero-discharge technology in offshore oil production, Vladimir Burmatov said speaking at the environmental forum. According to Burmatov, Russia has long passed the stage when the ecological interests were in opposition to the interests of business. "Now we can have only one vector of development. This vector of development is "green", said the head of the Duma Committee. 
On the final day of the forum, it was noted that although the majority of Russian residents are aware of the federal Clean Air project, 41% of them have not heard anything about it, and this indicates insufficient information support for the project. 
Norilsk Nickel’s Vice President Dmitry Pristanskov, while talking about his company’s Sulfur Project aimed at reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by 75% by 2024, said that it does not bring any profitability for the company and that this is a non-profit project, in which, however, Norilsk Nickel is investing 123 billion rubles as a net investment in the environment. 
Alexander Vlasov representing the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage in his presentation said that out of 623 billion rubles allocated for environmental activities, 459 billion will be invested by business. Already, he said, enterprises in a number of industrial centers of the country are modernizing their heat power systems and transferring vehicles to gas fuel in order to reduce atmospheric emissions. 
The concluded VIIIth Ecological Forum in Moscow was a venue for developing the best solutions to ensure industrial and environmental safety, share best practices among manufacturing companies in managing environmental safety systems and environmental conservation and in implementing corporate environmental projects. 
The Forum was attended by a wide number of officials from the federal government and local governments of Russia’s northern provinces, as well as by experts, researchers, representatives of NGOs, industrial companies operating in the High North and international environmental organizations.

Galina Semyonova and Alex Shishlo, Rough&Polished, Moscow