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ESG principles help develop business in Kyrgyzstan

June 15, 2024

On June 11, 2024, the International Business Council held an event on the topic “Successful ESG Practices in the Kyrgyz Private Sector” in the format of a panel discussion.

IBC Members, representatives of government agencies, international and domestic companies, and development partners shared information and experience in promoting the implementation of ESG standards that establish requirements in relation to the environment, social responsibility of business and corporate governance.

The term ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) first came to prominence in a 2004 report titled "Who Cares Wins", which was a joint initiative of financial institutions at the invitation of the United Nations (UN). By 2023, the ESG movement had grown from a UN corporate social responsibility initiative into a global phenomenon representing more than US$30 trillion in assets under management

“It is symbolic that this year we, as representatives of responsible business, are holding a special event dedicated to the implementation of ESG principles in Kyrgyzstan. 20 years later, the trends in the global economy are such that modern business is no longer enough to simply make a profit, it is necessary to leave behind a favorable mark on the environment and society, this becomes sustainable and profitable.” said IBC Executive Director Askar Sydykov.

In recent years, many Kyrgyzstan’s companies have begun to follow not only ESG principles, but also publish reports on compliance with ESG standards and receive funding from international financial institutions as part of relevant programs.

“At the same time, many questions arise in the business community and in society as a whole about why ESG standards are needed, how to apply them, and who is already applying them. Therefore, we invited speakers from global companies (some came from regional foreign offices), and they shared their experiences about successful ESG practices already being implemented and planned activities in this direction. It is gratifying that the UNDP Business and Human Rights Project, funded by the Government of Japan, responded and supported this event,” said the IBC head.

At the first panel session related to the discussion of companies’ experience in complying with requirements for responsible environmental behavior, a representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources spoke about the latest bills and initiatives raised by the Ministry as part of the implementation of ESG standards in Kyrgyzstan, in particular, about the mechanism of extended producer responsibility in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Representative of the KPMG regional office (Kazakhstan) Anuar Kazbekov shared the KPMG’s experience of creating environmental strategies for industrial companies in the Republic of Kazakhstan. For example, the development of an environmental strategy for three large thermal power plants is expected to reduce pollutant emissions by 70%.

SGS Kazakhstan representative Ilya Korlyakov explained how to conduct an independent environmental audit, as well as receive consulting services and assistance in developing measures and plans to reduce the impact on the environment and social environment.

According to Adilet Mukambetov, technical director of Hyatt Regency Bishkek, ESG principles can be implemented not only in manufacturing, but also in the hotel business. The hotel was one of the first to install special equipment using artificial intelligence control how much and what products are thrown away and optimize emissions. Food waste generates 8-10% of global GHG emissions, UN report reveals.

By 2030, CCI aims to achieve 100% recyclable packaging using at least 50% recycled plastic. The company also plans to increase the efficiency of water use at its factories by 20% (base year 2020), said Nazik Mamedova, a representative of Coca-Cola Bishkek Bottlers.

The second panel session to discuss the principles of corporate social responsibility was chaired by Jamilya Imankulova, Founder of El Group Consulting. The CSR issues in the relationships of companies with employees, with their suppliers and clients were considered.

Talant Bektashev, chief expert of the Social Partnership Fund for regional development, spoke about the latest fund initiatives, including a project related to increasing places in kindergartens through the introduction of modern solutions.

Yandex GO representative in Kyrgyzstan Tilek Sulaymanov described how the company implements inclusive solutions for people with special needs, and also organizes IT courses in schools and free transportation for some social organizations.

Nurlan Bakirov, UNDP project analyst in Kyrgyzstan, in his presentation “Human Rights in Business”, spoke about the UN guidelines in this area, and presented the results of an express analysis of the websites of some companies for compliance with the requirements of the UN guidelines.

Kompanion Bank representative Rano Egemberdieva spoke about the implementation of ESG principles in the banking sector, as well as how the company, in addition to its core activities, provides free educational programs and expert advice from agronomists and veterinarians.

At the third panel discussion, moderated by Zhanna Ismailova, Board Chair of the Chamber of Independent Directors of the Kyrgyz Republic, the latest trends in corporate governance in Kyrgyzstan were discussed. Issues related to the transparency and integrity of companies, the presence of anti-corruption and other measures to comply with the law in companies were also considered.

Representative of the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange Talant Omuraliev explained how the KSE promotes the implementation of ESG principles by establishing requirements for companies listed on KSE.

Commercial Director of Sky Mobile (Beeline) Alexander Atamanov spoke about corporate governance, mechanisms of interaction within the company on the principles of openness and involvement on a bottom-up basis.

IFC consultant Aibek Kadyraliev informed about the concept of responsible business conduct and recent IFC projects to strengthen the capacity of representatives of the boards of directors of public companies.

Almaz Shabdanov, Chairman of the Board of Envoice Vision Digital Exchange, introduced the meeting participants to modern IT solutions for participating in the management of companies and attracting investments.

Summing up the meeting, the participants emphasized that the implementation of ESG principles is a complex process that requires a strategic approach and constant commitment to sustainable development goals. The IBC ESG Committee will continue to develop an equal dialogue between the business community and stakeholders on the implementation of ESG principles in companies.

Presentations from all event participants, as well as photographs, are available at the following link: