Environmental Transparency Rankings: New Wave of Interest Amid Pandemic
On May 29, WWF-Russia together with CREON Group and the National Rating
Agency (NRA) discussed the methodology of the Environmental Transparency
Ranking of Oil and Gas Companies. Similar was done for mining and power
generating companies on May 22 and 25, respectively.
This year, methodologies of the rankings were discussed by 23 companies and 8 experts. They produced around 70 recommendations concerning the adjustment of methodologies in total. Major part of the suggestions was about the Power Generating Companies Ranking. It is the "youngest" of the industry rankings, and it will be issued for the second time in 2020.
"When we were conducting this May discussion in the new format and new—to the whole world—reality, we expected the interest to the topic to decrease," says Aleksey Knizhnikov, Head of the Program for the Business Environmental Responsibility at WWF-Russia. "However, people are still willing to participate. This year, we have received about 40 suggestions on methodology improvement for power generating companies transparency ranking. Compare it with the last year when most of the companies tried to understand what that ranking was and how to participate. I must note that power generating companies are extremely reluctant to share information, which makes it difficult to reduce their impact on the environment. Our research is based on data we gather from open sources, such as publications in media, materials from websites of companies, and information from locals. This means that the higher position companies want to take in our ranking, the more immediate and complete information they have to share with the public. Seeing a new wave of interest in the research and participation in it amid the new circumstances is very important."
WWF-Russia believes that economic aftermath of the pandemic can be dealt with only if everyone takes long-term decisions and strives to achieve the sustainable development goals. Disclosure of environmentally significant information about the activities of extracting and power generating companies would allow the public to push them reducing their environmental impact.
To make the rankings an effective tool of public control in the country's leading industries, it is crucial to engage a wider circle of stakeholders in discussing the methodology. The group of experts who protect the interests of the public and environment includes such established companies as the Horizon Investment Group and Environmental and Energy Rating Agency Era.
"Working on the rankings, we realized that its very appearance caused the interest of power generating companies to this topic to grow," says Grigoriy Shlyapin, Director of Corporate Finance of the Horizon Investment Group and participant of the discussion over the methodology for power generating companies. "We have seen examples when companies increased their disclosure quality. I hope that the ranking will promote reducing environmental impacts of the heat generation in the future."
The experts believe that the methodology should be designed to encourage businesses to disclose information, this way protecting public interests and the constitutional right of the citizens to a favorable environment and access to information about it.
"In Russia, public control of business transparency and responsibility has been developing for almost 20 years”, says Aleksandr Martynov, Director of Environmental and Energy Rating Agency Era. “It began back in 2000 with Independent Environmental Rating Agency NERA and has been supported by the information services group Interfax since 2010. Today, Environmental and Energy Rating Agency Era alone evaluates over 6,000 companies from Russia and Kazakhstan and supports its colleagues, including WWF, in developing and promoting new formats of cooperation with business. The future belongs to responsible and transparent businesses!"
The Oil and Gas Companies Rankings are traditionally getting ready for launching with CREON Group. As part of the WWF's People for Nature project supported by the EU, accidents and controversial ecological situations have been monitored for all three rankings since 2019. The project also encompasses the Power Generation Companies Ranking and Mining Companies Ranking.
WWF-Russia develops industry rankings to attract public attention to the country's environmental development, conservation of biological diversity, and ensuring environmental safety. Learn more about the Environmental Transparency Rankings of power generation companies, mining companies, and oil and gas companies.
Video about why we need environmental transparency rankings (in Russian): https://youtu.be/duZHMv5hdjU
The People for Nature project is implemented by WWF Russia with the support of the European Union and aims to engage a wide range of stakeholders in environmental protection. The project will be carried out in 2019-2022. Its tasks are as follows: preservation of forests by preventing degradation and illegal use of forests, as well as reducing the negative impact of industry on the environment by reducing air pollution and increasing the environmental responsibility of business.
Preview: (c) Dmitriy Ryabov / WWF-Russia
Headpiece: (c) Dmitriy Sychikov / WWF-Russia