On 3 October 2022, within the framework of the 6th Annual financial conference World Investor Week (October 3-7, 2022), the ESG Investment Forum was held, the key topics of the forum were ESG investments and sustainable development.
The main event of the forum was the panel session "National ESG Club as a platform for sustainable business" moderated by the Chairman of the National ESG Club, CEO of the AIFC Green Finance Centre Aidar Kazybayev. The plenary session was attended by the Minister of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alibek Kuantyrov, as well as the CEOs of member companies of the National ESG Club, including Nikolai Podguzov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Eurasian Development Bank, Lyazzat Ibragimova, Chairman of the Management Board of Otbasy Bank JSC, Ruslan Iskakov, Chairman of the Management Board of Development Bank of Kazakhstan JSC, as well as Viktor Kovalenko, EY Partner, Central Asia Climate Change and Sustainability Services Director and Timur Turlov, President of Freedom Finance Global PLC.
The participants exchanged views on the ongoing work to promote and implement the principles of sustainable development and discussed such trending topics as the development of a Strategy to achieve carbon neutrality in Kazakhstan until 2060, banks' plans to develop green financing projects, the use of gender bonds to empower women, the application of ESG principles in the transformation of companies' activities.
A.Kuantyrov announced aspects of applying the ESG principles in the civil service, as well as preparing for participation in COP-27 this year (in Egypt).
N.Podguzov spoke about plans to implement the bank's strategy until 2026, where a significant role is given to financing "green" projects and also noted the need to discuss the climate agenda, including issues of fiscal and tariff policy, emissions trading together with the EAEU countries.
At the same time, representatives of Otbasy Bank JSC and Development Bank of Kazakhstan JSC spoke about the transformation of processes in accordance with ESG principles, as well as the financing of "green" and "social" projects
Timur Turlov, speaking about digital transformation, noted: "Digitalization itself fits very well into the ESG concept. We are actively engaged in digitization of such heavy banking products as mortgages and car loans. In the classic design of the same mortgage, a large amount of paper documentation and human resources are used. But when you manage to save resources and digitize the process, then you benefit the environment because you perform fewer unnecessary actions. I am absolutely convinced that, thanks to ESG, there will be fewer imbalances in our world. ESG has the absolute potential to grow steadily, creating benefits for all participants in this process."
In addition, during the plenary session the problems of training personnel specializing in sustainable development, as well as the high cost of ESG process assessment services for companies were discussed. Thus, EY Partner Viktor Kovalenko believes that any compliance already implies costs for business, but it is possible to transform and optimize the consulting process, which can lead to lower costs for business.
Summing up the session, the Chairman of the National ESG Club, Aidar Kazybayev, invited Freedom Finance Global PLC to work together on the issue of the first digital ESG bond on the blockchain platform.
Under this initiative, the parties will separately discuss prospects and joint approaches within the implementation of the Framework Agreement on Cooperation signed between the AIFC Green Finance Centre and Freedom Finance Global PLC, which became a significant event of the ESG Investment Forum.
Thus, Freedom Finance Global PLC became a new member of the National ESG Club, which today unites more than 30 companies.
The National ESG Club was created as part of Astana Finance Days 2022 on July 28, 2022 and united 19 companies that are leaders in ESG transformation in their industries. Today the Club includes 30 companies.
The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) is an independent jurisdiction that started operations in 2018. In accordance with the Development Strategy until 2025, the key focus of the AIFC is to consolidate as a universal platform connecting the countries of the EAEU, Central Asia and the Caucasus. www.aifc.kz
The AIFC Green Finance Centre is a subsidiary organisation of the AIFC Authority and the Eurasian Development Bank, aimed at introduction and development of sustainable finance instruments and attracting of investments in environmental and social projects in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
The AIFC Green Finance Centre supported the very first issuance of green bonds and first verified green loan in Kazakhstan. Also, the Centre introduced definitions of green finance and green taxonomy (a classifier of economic activities and projects that meet technical selection criteria) in the national environmental legislation. The new legislation provides incentives for entrepreneurs who use green finance instruments www.gfc.aifc.kz