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Development of Territories environmental business game tested by WWF in Altai

16 november 2022
At the initiative of the WWF-Russia Altai students modeled the development of the region, trying on the roles of representatives of government, business and society

Development of Territories is a new ecological business game of the WWF-Russia developed in 2022. The game was tested by teachers and students of the Gnezdilov Polytechnic College of Altai Republic on November, 15 in Gorno-Altaisk. The participants created a model of a sustainable region, calculated effective strategies for the development of the subject from the point of view of government, community and business.

The game and participants
(c) WWF / Tatiana Ivanitskaya
“The goal of the game is to give the participants an idea, an overview of how the strategic plans of the regions are being developed, how these decisions are formed that determine the future of the region for the next 5-10 years. It’s important to show students that each can influences this process. That is why, instead of lecturing, it is better to let the participants try the role of decision makers. The players were divided into groups - government, community and business, whose interests are often different, and the players understood this already on the first moves. So, business chose wage cuts, communities chose a clean environment, and government chose the extraction of fossil resources. The moves during which the groups were able to negotiate had a positive effect on the region's development index. We saw how disparate points of contention led to a regression of the process, a drop in the development index, and this inspired the participants to find a common language, compromise, negotiate, just like in life, ”says Mikhail Zabelin, co-author of the game, expert.

WWF developed the Development of Territories game as part of a program to educate young entrepreneurs about the basics of sustainable business. The Altai Republic was chosen as a testing region as the region has a high level of biodiversity and the significant number of WWF’s project.


Students and experts of the game.
(c) WWF / Татьяна Иваницкая
“Having worked with government and business for many years, we have noticed how often we are moving towards the same goal, but we speak different languages. This makes it difficult to find a mutually beneficial solution. That is why the WWF-Russia has developed a game that teaches you to compromise, listen to each other, and not swear. And most importantly, to take responsibility for my decisions, to dispel the illusion that I do not decide anything, to see that today's decision of each of us affects long-term plans,” says Mikhail Babenko, project coordinator at the WWF-Russia.

During game testing, college students easily played the different roles - from a pensioner to a governor: community blamed the government, and business blamed community. However, by the end of the game, the participants learned to understand how coordinated decisions affect the development of the region when groups choose one direction of development, for example, tourism development, agriculture, etc. In addition, the participants' arguments became reasonable, balanced and coordinated, students learned to listen and hear. As a result, the game ended with a growing schedule for the development of a conditional territory.

Key episodes of the game
(c) WWF / Татьяна Иваницкая

The mission of the WWF is the harmony of people and nature. And for the first game WWF chose students whose view is just being formed. The game showed how important it is for the development of the region and the improvement of the quality of life to take into account a healthy environment and clean nature. Perhaps one of these students will become an official, a businessman and retain these skills, knowledge of how important it is to negotiate for the sustainable development of regions,” says Natalya Trofimova, Director of the WWF Representative Office in the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.

The WWF plans to share the Development of Regions game with other regions of Russia.