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Look back just a few years and Russia was considered to be one of the most attractive and fastest-growing emerging markets. Much has changed since then. The framework conditions have become more difficult and there is a general feeling of uncertainty as to how the country’s economy will develop as a whole. REMONDIS is responding to these challenges in three different ways: by focusing more on specific areas, by concentrating on finding solutions that can act as role models for the rest of the market and by holding frank and open discussions with its partners.
REMONDIS entered the Russian market back in 2008 and had already consolidated and stabilised its activities there by 2014. Today, its focus is on its operations in Dzerzhinsk and Saransk. REMONDIS’ objective in both towns is to ensure waste is segregated and collected separately as well as to drive forward recycling activities. This strategy has led to the company playing a pioneering role when it comes to sustainable development – especially in Saransk. Other business plans include investing in state-of-the-art collection logistics for the region of Mordovia where many districts still have no access to any type of collection scheme at all. The company is also looking into the possibility of setting up a recycling plant there.
Swetlana Bigesse, General Manager of OOO REMONDIS (Russia)
Hendrik Vonnegut, Managing Director of REMONDIS International
The fact that market prospects have improved again is certainly one of the reasons why the company is expecting to remain committed to the Russian market over the medium to long term. Economic arguments are not enough on their own however. What is of primary importance is having reliable and resilient partnerships on the ground and being able to help Russia become more sustainable. At the end of the day, preventing climate change and conserving natural resources are global issues that do not stop at a country’s border.
One of the Russian government’s current goals is to increase recycling rates around the country. Since 2015, therefore, it has been working on drawing up new regulations to drive recycling. These should, for example, encourage investments in new plants via long-term concession agreements, which should set out the prerequisites for running a cost-efficient business. Plans are also to introduce the principle of producer responsibility, especially for used sales packaging. Obligatory recycling targets are expected to be introduced in 2017 for most types of packaging.
At the 9th German-Russian Raw Materials Conference in Düsseldorf: Vsevolod Levin, President of ZAO “Russian Copper Company”, Hendrik Vonnegut, Managing Director of REMONDIS International, Prof. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister, and Prof. Valerij Jasew, President of the Association of Mining Industrialists in the Russian Federation (from left to right)
One particular feature of REMONDIS’ work in Russia is holding regular discussions with its partners. Its objective here is to keep the dialogue going irrespective of geopolitical developments – in order to exchange know-how and experiences and so help conserve resources and prevent climate change. With this goal in mind, Russian delegations are invited regularly to visit REMONDIS’ locations in Russia and Germany.
Just recently, Russia has looked to intensify talks with its European partners – leading to two important events being held in November alone. The 9th German-Russian Raw Materials Conference – whose theme this year was 'The raw materials business and its responsibility towards the climate and the environment' – was attended by both Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel and the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Arkady Dvorkovich. It provided the perfect venue for discussing important issues and examining potential bilateral collaboration projects. The programme of events also included a visit to REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant.
Moreover, a fact-finding tour was organised for Russian opinion leaders and decision-makers working within the waste management industry on behalf of the ‘BMWi’ (Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy). The event took place at the end of November and also saw the Russian delegation visiting REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant.
Russia has officially declared 2017 to be the “Year of Ecology”. New laws aim to drive sustainable development across the country.
Following the slump experienced by Russia last year, there are now an increasing number of signs signalling that the Russian economy is slowly recovering. The Russian Ministry for Economic Affairs is expecting the country’s gross domestic product to increase slightly in 2017. At the same time, international investors are returning to the market: according to the Bundesbank [German Central Bank], direct German investment in the Russian Federation amounted to 1.73 billion euros during the first six months of 2016. It had, therefore, almost reached the total amount invested in 2015 (1.78 billion euros). Russia would appear to be back – good news for both bilateral business relationships and for the efforts being made by the international community to tackle global warming and protect the environment.
REMONDIS is helping to drive recycling in the regions around the cities of Saransk and Dzerzhinsk, e.g. by investing in state-of-the-art collection logistics