First Verifiers Receive VEB.RF’s Approval for Green Financial Instruments
VEB.RF has made a permanent list of verifiers for sustainable financial instruments. The verifiers are responsible for the independent assessment (verification) of bonds and loans for compliance with the requirements of the Russian national green finance methodology.
The list is composed of five duly qualified organisations that submitted a full package of documents required by the national methodology:
- Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA)
- National Rating Agency (NRA)
- National Credit Ratings
- Expert RA
- FBK Grant Thornton
Several more applications are currently under review by VEB.RF, and the list of verifiers may be expanded in the near future.
The list of verifiers is made by VEB.RF as the national ESG centre providing methodological support for green financial instruments. Additional support comes from the VEB.RF Research and Expertise Institute.
The approved permanent list of verifiers is an important step forward in building up the Russian green finance system. Verifiers are a key and necessary participant in the green finance market, providing independent verification for compliance with the existing regulatory requirements, including the material environmental impact of financed projects. The list of verifiers will increase the confidence of market participants in green finance projects and issued sustainable financial instruments.
An increasingly sophisticated green finance market will make it possible to encourage investment in projects for environmental protection and low-carbon development, which will make the Russian economy more competitive and help it to adapt to global energy transition.
Russia’s Civic Chamber Recommends Register for Regional Social Needs
The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation issues recommendations to improve the SIB mechanism
Social impact projects involving VEB.RF as an operator and efficiently promoted in Russia provide an instrument for encouraging innovation in the social sphere. A social impact bond (SIB) is a multipartite contract among the public sector commissioner, the investor and the service provider, and repayment from the government to investors is contingent on the achievement of specified social outcomes.
As shown globally, this mechanism is effective in addressing social issues at regional and nationwide level. The current results of the SIB programme in Russia demonstrate its effectiveness and great potential.
However, according to the Civic Chamber, there are barriers: regional executive authorities feel concern about the feasibility of SIBs; social service providers, such as non-profit organisations and social enterprises, are not standardised and are not prepared to achieved the desired outcomes; it is necessary to introduce uniform metrics to calculate repayment and social outcomes. In addition, given the potential of Russian SIBs, the SIB testing deadline should be extended.
In this connection, the Civic Chamber prepared recommendations. Specifically, it was recommended that the programme should be completed within a longer period and aligned with the strategic plans of national projects and development priorities for 2030. It is also necessary to boost the launching and supporting of regional programmes at the level of executive authorities. Additionally, the Civic Chamber proposed that a uniform register should be formed to include social needs in the regions and effectively invite potential investors.
“We are certain about the great potential and effectiveness of the SIB mechanism, and we believe the Civic Chamber will be able to provide an infrastructural platform for identifying the demand for SIB projects and we are ready to provide support for cooperation with non-profit organisations and social enterprises, and render comprehensive assistance to organise dialogue with public authorities to augment the impacts of the programme,” said Yevgeniya Dmitrieva, a member of the Commission on Economic Development and Corporate Social Responsibility, Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.
The mechanism is developing very quickly, and the principal task is to create a market for projects in order for investors to invest without hesitation and for the regions to be encouraged to introduce SIBs into various sectors of the social sphere, according to VEB.RF’s Managing Director Mikhail Alashkevich.
“Working with non-profits, big business will be able to use the mechanism to resolve critical issues by forming a new practice of collaboration. SIB testing in the regions has already shown good results, and we intend to use the mechanism to implement federal projects. VEB.RF is now involved in six ongoing projects, and there are plans to launch an additional ten SIBs this year,” he said.
The Civic Chamber made recommendations following a round-table discussion on how to use SIBs to encourage innovation in the regional social sphere. The event was organised by the Commission on Economic Development and Corporate Social Responsibility of the Civic Chamber, VEB.RF, and the Into the Changes Foundation with support from the Presidential Grant Foundation.