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Russian businesses show good nature

In the heart of autumn – 5 October 2016 – people in Moscow crunched across fallen orange leaves to plant young decorative apple tree seedlings.


UN Environment was among partners organising the event, which was held in the State Botanic Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences and heralded the opening of the Russian ECO-Projects Autumn Season.


The saplings planted were specially selected by botanic garden experts to withstand Moscow’s harsh climate and symbolically took root alongside the growing movement to protect the environment across Russia.


The event attracted a range of people, organisations and representatives, including the Siberian Coal and Energy Company, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Management, the Joint Stock ‘Children's World’ company, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, ERAECO, teachers, the media, non-governmental organisations and winners of the National Environmental Award.


While all participants were gathered in the garden, they discussed the need to involve a range of sectors – including the public sector, state companies, private sector and mass-media – in environmental issues across Russia.


Environmental protection and conservation of natural wealth for future generations “forms the basis” of a company’s corporate responsibility - especially during times of environmental crisis, said Sergey Grigoriev, Deputy General Director of SUEK, one of the world’s biggest coal companies.


This activity was sponsored by the Siberian Coal and Energy Company and ‘Children's World’ Joint Stock Company - major providers of nutrition, goods and clothes for children in Russia.


Rest assured, Russian spas embrace Green Economy


Meanwhile, in light of growing questions about the sustainability of the use of natural mineral springs, a round table on Balneological Resources of the North-Caucasus Region in Modern Economic Conditions was organised by UN Environment’s Russia Office and partners in October.


Nestled in the Caucasus mountain range, soothing mineral springs cascade into some of the oldest spa resorts in Russia – places of tranquillity. These restful resorts and health spas provide a range of treatments, from offering areas to destress and relax, to medicinal muds and treatments of disease.


Twenty participants - representing local authorities, directors of spa resorts, Civic Chamber of Stavropol Krai, scientists and non-governmental organisations - attended the event and deliberated on the environmental and economic situation in the region, stressing that further development of the spa region is only feasible in line with sustainable development.


A follow-up of this meeting is planned to take place next year, during the Third International Ecological Forum on Green Economy. There, a platform of conversation about inclusive green economy issues in Pyatigorsk – an area of Russia home to a spa founded in 1780 – will be reflected on in depth.


Over 60 per cent of Russia’s gross domestic product comes from the service sector – illustrating the importance of these types of businesses, such as wellness centres and spas, on the Russian economy.


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