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The “Home Towns” social investment forum has taken place in St Petersburg

Press-release Partnership

The “Home Towns” national investment forum took place in St Petersburg on 26 November — the key theme of this year’s event being partnerships for sustainable development in the regions. Forum speakers included representatives from government agencies and businesses, as well as local development and civic and social planning specialists from localities throughout the country.

The forum’s business programme opened with a plenary session involving Anatoly Chubais, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Relations with International Organisations to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals; Alexander Dyukov, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft; Elena Shmeleva, Head of the Talent and Success Foundation; Sergei Novikov, Chief of the Presidential Directorate for Social Projects; Natalia Trunova, Head of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation; and Alexander Ivlev, EY CIS Managing Partner.

Experts discussed the conditions necessary for a sustainable future for the regions, sharing successful examples of partnership building and paying particular attention to business’s role in developing skills and competencies locally and creating an environment for retaining talent beyond major population centres.

Specialist civic and social planning practitioners presented at three dedicated themed sessions on “Education and Science”, “Ecology” and “Urban Creativity”, with forum participants putting forward solutions for making cities more attractive in lifestyle terms, as well as sharing social investment tools in implementing projects important to local communities.

The Home Towns social investment forum has been held by Gazprom Neft since 2014, evolving during that time from a corporate format to a Russia-wide platform for discussing the latest trends in social investment and sustainable development.

Gazprom Neft has been implementing its Home Towns social investment programme for almost 10 years. This is Russia’s first systemic business-initiated programme directed at improving living standards in the regions by implementing social projects, developing infrastructure and supporting local communities.

“Gazprom Neft’s social projects have, since 2012, been brought together to form the ‘Home Towns’ social investment programme — which is to say, to offer an integrated strategic goal-setting agenda that can be flexibly adapted to regional needs. The programme now operates in 40 constituent entities of the Russian Federation — that’s almost half the country’s regions. The ‘Home Towns’ programme is one of the key tools in achieving the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Added to which, in implementing social investment programmes we rely (as in business) on establishing partnerships — it’s part of our strategy. We implement initiatives in conjunction with government agencies, universities, and local community leaders — which means the Home Towns programme can be adapted effectively to the actual needs of specific localities.”
Alexander Dyukov
Alexander Dyukov Gazprom Neft CEO

Citing, by way of example, the “Storm” sports-projects system developed and being implemented by mixed martial arts (MMA) champion and Omsk local Alexander Shlemenko with support from Gazprom Neft.

“Partnership is the basis for cooperation in the regions. Every single one of them can make use of the new opportunities offered by the imminent energy transition. This, of course, will require some serious adjustment to local budget, tax and tariff policy. But you have to start with reformatting social policy. It’s all about people: and local government has to be absolutely clear as to which population groups need to be supported, and how, exactly, to do that.”
Anatoly Chubais
Anatoly Chubais Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Relations with International Organisations to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals
“The legacy of the Olympics, transferred to Sirius at the direction of the President, has been making its enormous potential — in terms of the interests of absolutely all of Russia’s regions — clear for six years now. In the same way that an infrastructure project is put together in terms of an overriding global objective, so is a person — a professional — formed in the context of the tasks he or she sets themselves. The measure of his or her talent is then evident in terms of those changes directly impacting living standards for every one of us.”
Elena Shmeleva
Elena Shmeleva Head of the Talent and Success Foundation

Session partners included the National Priorities independent non-profit organisation, the UN Global Compact Network Russia, and the Donors’ Forum association. One of the forum’s outstanding episodes involved performance monologues from media personalities — film director Klim Shipenko, poet Vera Polozkova, and teacher Dima Zitser.

Recordings of all forum discussions are available through the “Home Towns” platform, here.