Boosting the Bottom Line With Clean Tech
The participants in the morning panel session of the Forum’s second day discussed nature protection policy and green technologies, returns on and popularity of such technologies among producers. The subject of support for the green economy was also raised. During the discussion, the goals were outlined for which the small but significant steps are being taken to protect the environment and whose impact is already being felt.
Chief of Staff or Chief of Staff Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation Sergei Ivanov reminded those present that the markets for secondary heat sources (such as that produced from waste processing) and organic foodstuffs have particular potential. Mr. Ivanov spoke about how the budget will be formed for the Year of Ecology in 2017: 80–85% of costs are covered by the company and 10–15% by the budget. Mr. Ivanov stressed that investment should be made in green business not for the sake of a bright future but for profit, but without an orientation on the future, in ten years the business might simply collapse. Representatives of sea carriage, shelf extraction of hydrocarbons, the timber industry and construction in Russia have already asked about voluntary certification of environmental standards, Mr. Ivanov said.
Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, stated that the focus should be on resource saving and development of the market for systemic environmental services. Also important is alternative energy and, by the beginning of 2015, RUB 100 billion had been invested in this sector in Russia. By 2025, it is planned to raise another over RUB 3.5 trillion; this programme is being developed jointly by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Energy.
The main growth driver of environmental efficiency of the Russian economy, according to Mr. Donskoy, is a drop in the specific indicators of resource use per unit of GDP. He also noted that, since 2012, 60 laws and regulations had been passed in the environmental sphere. Work is under way in Russia to fulfil the regulations of the law on introduction of the best available technologies. According to the experts, global expenditures on modernizing production amount to up to 2.5% of GDP per annum. Expenditures on projects in the nature protection sphere in Russia account for about 0.8% of GDP. This year 2016, a number of economic stimuli have been introduced for enterprises: benefits on payments for negative environmental impact, benefits on payment of investment credits, and from 2019 an additional depreciation coefficient will come in for equipment.
According to another law Mr. Donskoy talked about (on production and consumption), waste should be disposed of on the production site or a charge paid to the state. The rates under this law were approved in April. The goods for mandatory processes include solid domestic waste, paper, cardboard, polymers and textiles. At the same time, it is primarily the state sector companies that should introduce green standards and assume purchase obligations thereunder. Green bonds and bank project finance should also be issued and, in 2017, it is planned to decide on setting up a Green Investment Bank.
Elena Bezdenezhnykh, Vice-President and State Secretary, GR, Norilsk Nickel, talked about environmental protection measures taken in western countries and about what the situation was in this respect in Russia. Under profit tax, accelerated depreciation is not applied in Russia to equipment imported since January 2014. Additional cost deductions apply in Russia only to R&D with a 1.5% coefficient. The investment tax deduction has not been applied since 2002. Exemption from indirect taxes is restricted in Russia to types of production. Consequently, Norilsk Nickel has suggested to the authorities that state support measures be prepared: a higher, up to 3%, depreciation coefficient, payment adjustments as an incentive to an environmental orientation of production and improvements to the law on environmental protection.