Sector

Sustainable development

Type

Analytical commentary

An environmental ranking of Russia’s regions for 2023

  • The overall results of the ranking, like last year, show that scores are fairly evenly distributed between the regions. All the values of the complex environmental indicator, developed specifically for this ranking1, range between 1.875 and 4.25 points. This suggests that certain environmental problems are present in all of Russia’s regions, despite major environmental projects and programs.

  • Moscow maintained its leadership in the ranking in 2023, having recorded a positive performance for most of the environmental indicators.

  • The results of the ranking were heavily influenced by indicators related to environmental protection expenses. The regions that share second to fourth place were able to achieve this mainly because they spent more in this area.

  • Despite the economic situation, the environmental agenda remained relevant in 2022 — the trend to reduce the negative impact on the environment that has emerged in recent years in Russia continues, and environmental projects continue to be implemented.


1 The full version of the Methodology is provided in Appendix 2.

Table 1. Leaders of ACRA’s regional environmental ranking


1 — maximum score; 5 — minimum score.
Source: ACRA

Table 2. Distribution of factor scores among the leaders of ACRA’s regional environmental ranking


Source: ACRA

Moscow maintains its leadership in ACRA’s environmental ranking.

Leaders of the ranking

Moscow occupies first place in ACRA’s 2023 environmental ranking. The capital’s leading position, like last year, is due to both the high concentration of the population and regional authorities’ increased focus on environmental issues and the positive dynamics of certain environmental indicators.

ACRA notes a systematic reduction of emissions from mobile sources in Moscow, which are some of the most critical for the city due to the constantly growing number of cars (Fig. 1). In ACRA’s opinion, this is due to the active upgrading of public transport in the capital in recent years (implementation of the Moscow Central Diameters project and launch of the Big Circle Line of the metro), making public transport more accessible and comfortable, as well as switching it to more environmentally friendly types of fuel and facilitating the use of electric transport.

Figure 1. Dynamics of emissions from mobile sources in Moscow, thousand tons per year


Source: Rosstat

In addition, according to statistics, the share of air pollutants captured and neutralized in Moscow increased quite significantly in 2022. This is most likely due to the fact that regional authorities are paying increased attention to issues of air quality and the development of an environmental monitoring system2 and thereby stimulating industrial enterprises to take measures to clean up emissions. Despite the fact that Moscow’s expenses on environmental protection have declined by more than RUB 10 bln year-on-year, it continues to be one of the leaders in terms of this expenditure item, with only the Krasnoyarsk Krai and the Tyumen Region spending more.

The Belgorod Region, Kursk Region and the Omsk Region took joint second place in the ranking. ACRA notes that these regions held rather high spots last year too, but were able to move up the table thanks to better scores for environmental protection expenditures.

The Belgorod Region, which ranked 16–26 last year, was able to become one of the leaders this year by improving three of the eight analyzed indicators. The most significant change was in the share of budget expenditures on environmental protection in total budget expenditures, which increased fourfold — from 0.11% in 2021 to 0.44% in 2022. In addition, the region substantially improved its gross regional product (GRP) energy intensity thanks to energy efficiency programs. According to Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, the Belgorod Region is the country’s leading region in terms of energy efficiency of road and street infrastructure (lighting of regional and municipal roads), and also has successfully implemented an automated system for accounting energy used by budgetary institutions3.

The Kursk Region, which shared the same position as the Belgorod Region last year, has become one of the leaders this year thanks to spending more on environmental protection, as mentioned above. The share of environmental protection expenditures in total budget expenditures grew from 0.2% to 1.5%, while overall environmental protection expenditures increased from RUB 3,000 to RUB 7,000 per capita. However, the Agency notes that the Region’s indicator for the share of captured and neutralized air pollutants from stationary sources in the total volume of emissions stands at 42.2%, while the average for Russia is 71.6%.

The Omsk Region also bettered its place in the ranking through high environmental protection expenditures — the share of these expenditures in the region’s total consolidated budget expenditures was 1.6% (this is among the ten best results in Russia), while overall environmental protection expenditures exceed RUB 7,000 per capita.

ACRA also notes the regional government’s considerable efforts to improve the environmental situation. Initiatives being implemented in the Omsk Region as part of the national project Ecology and the federal project Clean Air are aimed at solving key environmental problems of the region in general and the city of Omsk in particular. Thus, with the help of Clean Air, Omsk’s urban transport is being made more environmentally friendly, industrial enterprises are being modernized, and private homes are being connected to the gas network. In addition, the region is implementing the Biosphere wastewater treatment project, which will ensure the treatment of all industrial wastewater at Omsk Oil Refinery; this will allow the company to switch to an almost closed water consumption cycle.

However, despite the implementation of major industrial modernization projects, the Omsk Region’s GRP energy intensity remains rather high, and the region is 69th out of Russia’s regions for this indicator.


2 https://mosecom.mos.ru/basic/
3 https://economy.gov.ru/material/news/v_minekonomrazvitiya_nazvali_regiony_lidery_po_energoeffektivnosti.html

General environmental policy trends in Russia in 2023

The topic of ecology has not lost its relevance for Russian regions in 2023. The country’s regions will continue to implement the national project Ecology, which will receive a new name — Ecology and Environmental Management — and be extended until 20304. The results of the current project will be summed up in early 2024, although last year noticeable successes were already achieved in improving the environmental situation in general. For example, emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere were reduced by 11% under the Clean Air project.

Statistical changes under the Clean Air project will most likely appear at the national level starting in 2024, largely due to the full implementation of Norilsk Nickel’s Sulfur Program, which, according to forecasts, will reduce the total volume of pollutant emissions in Norilsk by at least 20%5.

ACRA places special focus on the changes planned for 2024 in the field of monitoring emissions of large companies in 12 cities that are participants of the Clean Air project. From January 1, 2024, Rosprirodnadzor will pilot control over compliance with established emission quotas in these cities and monitor air quality. In the Agency’s opinion, the implementation of this initiative could lead to a significant improvement in air quality in large industrial centers.

At the same time, certain elements of climate change adaptation policies are already being implemented at the regional level. According to order of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 3183-r dated December 25, 2019, regions were ordered to develop and approve their own adaptation plans to climate change by no later than Q4 2022. Although not all regions have published these documents yet, and for now they are often of a formal nature6, ACRA believes that this process will be further developed over the next three years, and the regions will form a detailed strategy for minimizing climate change risks.

It should be noted that despite the Russian Government’s attention to climate change issues and the start of the process to form a strategy in this area, there are still no greenhouse gas emission statistics at the regional level. If the publication of official government statistics in this area is launched, then ACRA will use them ACRA when compiling the environmental ranking.


4  https://www.vedomosti.ru/ecology/national_projects/news/2023/10/11/1000057-natsionalnii-proekt-ekologiya-menyaet-nazvanie
5 https://nornickel.ru/news-and-media/press-releases-and-news/nornikel-dal-start-sernoy-programme-v-norilske/
6 https://climate-change.moscow/article/o-polozhenii-del-po-razrabotke-otraslevyh-i-regionalnyh-planov-po-adaptacii-klimata

Environmental situation in Russia

Statistics show that 2022 was the most turbulent year in terms of economic transformation. Some companies that focused on foreign markets that used to be accessible experienced temporary downtime, supply chains were immediately restructured, access to a number of imported technologies ceased (including in the field of industrial environmental safety), but at the same time, the capacities of domestic companies, which hadn’t been modernized for years or decades, were urgently loaded.

Although economic conditions have changed, statistical data indicates that there were no significant changes in the environmental situation in Russia in 2022, and the trends of previous years have remained the same for most environmental indicators. The rate of water withdrawal from natural water bodies is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels (Fig. 2). In the coming years, we are likely to witness a continuation of the emerging trend towards a gradual reduction in water consumption, which is largely due to the widespread installation of water consumption monitoring devices and the formation of a culture of rational water use.

In addition, a systematic reduction in the total volume of discharged wastewater continues. This is mainly due to the modernization of water treatment systems at large industrial enterprises, the implementation of three federal projects related to preserving the ecology of water bodies under the Ecology7 national project, as well as the construction and launch of treatment facilities and installations. Both the total volume of wastewater discharge and the volume of wastewater discharge without treatment are reduced (Fig. 3).


7 Three federal projects are being implemented as part of the Ecology national project: Preservation of Unique Water Bodies, Improvement of the Volga, and Preservation of Lake Baikal.



The situation with pollutant emissions remains fairly stable: the volume of emissions from stationary sources in Russia has returned to pre-pandemic levels in the past two years. ACRA believes that emission statistics will begin to reflect the air quality impact of the Ecology national project in the coming years. The extremely slow dynamics of emissions reduction observed in the 2000s will continue next year.

A similar trend is observed with regard to pollutant emissions from mobile sources, which is partly due to numerous upgrade projects in the urban public transport segment in large Russian cities and the transition to more environmentally friendly fuels (electric transport vehicles and natural gas motor fuel) (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Pollutant emissions in Russia*, thousand tons per year



* The methodology for calculating emissions from mobile sources was amended significantly in 2019.
Source: Rosstat

Despite measures aimed at improving energy efficiency, the energy intensity index of Russian GDP remains fairly low compared to other countries (Fig. 5). However, ACRA notes that, based on this indicator, it is difficult to conclude that programs implemented in the changed economic conditions are ineffective. Statistically, the economy shrank in 2022 (GDP fell by 2.1%), and the industrial production index was near zero (0.6%). This explains the increase in the GDP energy intensity in 2022. ACRA believes that further economic growth and the accumulated effect of measures already taken to reduce energy consumption will lead to a decrease in the GDP energy intensity.

Figure 5. GDP energy intensity, OE kg/USD (in the 2015 constant)


Source: Enerdata

In 2017–2022, the share of environment protection expenditures, both for consolidated regional budgets and the federal budget, has more than tripled. In ACRA’s opinion, given the extension of the Ecology national project and the large pool of environmental projects in the country, the growth trend of this expenditure item in federal and regional budgets is likely to continue in the coming years. 

Figure 6. Share of environmental protection expenditures of consolidated regional budgets and the federal budget, % of total expenditures



Sources: Federal Treasury, https://www.iminfin.ru/

Appendix 1. Environmental ranking of Russian regions*

RANK

REGION

indicator value

FACTOR SCORES

GRP energy intensity

Environmental protection expenditures

Environmental protection expenditures (general)

Emissions from stationary sources

Emissions from mobile sources (motor vehicles and railway transport)

Share of captured and neutralized air pollutants

Wastewater discharge

Water intake from natural water sources

1

Moscow

1.875

1

2

3

1

2

2

3

1

2–4

Belgorod Region

2.25

3

2

2

3

2

1

2

3

2–4

Kursk Region

2.25

3

1

2

2

2

4

1

3

2–4

Omsk Region

2.25

4

1

2

3

3

1

3

1

5–8

Bryansk Region

2.375

3

4

4

2

1

2

2

1

5–8

Kaliningrad Region

2.375

1

2

4

2

2

2

4

2

5–8

Moscow Region

2.375

2

1

4

1

2

2

4

3

5–8

Republic of Dagestan

2.375

2

1

5

1

1

3

1

5

9–14

Sevastopol

2.5

1

5

4

1

1

5

2

1

9–14

Kaluga Region

2.5

2

3

3

2

2

3

3

2

9–14

Mari El Republic

2.5

4

2

4

2

1

4

2

1

9–14

Republic of Tatarstan

2.5

2

1

3

3

2

4

3

2

9–14

Ulyanovsk Region

2.5

3

1

4

1

1

4

4

2

9–14

Chuvash Republic

2.5

3

2

5

2

1

4

2

1

15–21

Novosibirsk Region

2.625

1

5

4

3

3

1

1

3

15–21

Penza Region

2.625

2

5

5

1

1

1

4

2

15–21

Republic of Buryatia

2.625

3

1

3

4

4

1

1

4

15–21

Republic of Mordovia

2.625

4

2

4

3

5

1

1

1

15–21

Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

2.625

1

3

1

5

1

3

4

3

15–21

Tyva Republic

2.625

5

4

3

2

1

3

1

2

15–21

Samara Region

2.625

3

1

2

3

2

3

4

3

22–26

Kabardino-Balkarian Republic

2.75

3

2

5

1

1

5

1

4

22–26

Murmansk Region

2.75

2

1

1

4

3

1

5

5

22–26

Nizhny Novgorod Region

2.75

3

1

2

2

3

4

4

3

22–26

Altay Republic

2.75

2

4

3

2

4

5

1

1

22–26

Republic of Crimea

2.75

2

3

5

1

2

4

2

3

27–33

Voronezh Region

2.875

2

3

4

2

4

3

3

2

27–33

Saint Petersburg

2.875

1

4

4

1

2

4

5

2

27–33

Zabaykalsky Krai

2.875

3

2

2

4

3

2

4

3

27–33

Magadan Region

2.875

1

3

1

5

5

3

1

4

27–33

Rostov Region

2.875

2

4

4

2

3

2

2

4

27–33

Sakhalin Region

2.875

1

5

1

4

3

3

3

3

27–33

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

2.875

1

3

1

5

2

3

3

5

34–42

Astrakhan Region

3

2

1

3

4

3

5

2

4

34–42

Ivanovo Region

3

4

1

4

2

3

5

3

2

34–42

Kurgan Region

3

4

4

4

2

4

3

2

1

34–42

Lipetsk Region

3

5

2

2

5

4

1

3

2

34–42

Pskov Region

3

3

3

3

3

4

4

3

1

34–42

Sverdlovsk Region

3

4

3

2

4

3

1

4

3

34–42

Smolensk Region

3

4

4

4

3

3

2

2

2

34–42

Chelyabinsk Region

3

5

2

2

4

3

1

4

3

34–42

Yaroslavl Region

3

4

2

2

3

1

5

5

2

43–50

Arkhangelsk Region

3.125

3

2

2

4

2

3

5

4

43–50

Vladimir Region

3.125

2

4

4

3

3

5

3

1

43–50

Krasnodar Region

3.125

2

4

3

3

1

2

5

5

43–50

Novgorod Region

3.125

5

3

3

3

4

2

2

3

43–50

Tambov Region

3.125

2

4

3

3

5

5

2

1

43–50

Tver Region

3.125

5

2

3

2

3

2

3

5

43–50

Tula Region

3.125

4

3

3

3

4

2

4

2

43–50

Udmurt Republic

3.125

2

5

3

3

2

4

3

3

51–65

Altai Krai

3.25

3

5

5

3

5

2

1

2

51–65

Volgograd Region

3.25

4

2

4

3

3

4

2

4

51–65

Vologda Region

3.25

5

2

2

5

3

3

3

3

51–65

Jewish Autonomous Region

3.25

4

4

3

4

3

2

4

2

51–65

Kamchatka Krai

3.25

1

2

1

4

5

5

4

4

51–65

Kirov Region

3.25

3

3

3

3

5

3

4

2

51–65

Nenets Autonomous Okrug

3.25

5

3

1

5

2

5

1

4

51–65

Oryol Region

3.25

3

4

5

2

4

4

3

1

51–65

Primorsky Krai

3.25

2

5

3

4

3

1

5

3

51–65

Republic of Adygea

3.25

2

4

5

2

2

5

2

4

51–65

Republic of Bashkortostan

3.25

5

3

3

3

3

4

2

3

51–65

Republic of Ingushetia

3.25

4

2

5

1

4

5

1

4

51–65

Saratov Region

3.25

4

4

4

2

5

2

2

3

51–65

Khabarovsk Krai

3.25

2

5

1

4

4

2

5

3

51–65

Chechen Republic

3.25

5

2

5

1

5

5

1

2

66–73

Amur Region

3.375

3

4

3

4

4

3

4

2

66–73

Irkutsk Region

3.375

5

3

1

5

2

2

5

4

66–73

Kostroma Region

3.375

4

3

3

3

2

4

3

5

66–73

Republic of North Ossetia-Alania

3.375

4

1

4

1

3

4

5

5

66–73

Republic of Khakassia

3.375

5

4

2

4

3

3

3

3

66–73

Ryazan Region

3.375

5

5

4

3

4

1

3

2

66–73

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Yugra

3.375

3

2

1

5

4

5

2

5

66–73

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

3.375

1

4

1

5

4

5

3

4

74–80

Karachay-Cherkess Republic

3.5

4

3

5

2

1

4

4

5

74–80

Krasnoyarsk Krai

3.5

3

3

1

5

5

3

4

4

74–80

Leningrad Region

3.5

4

4

2

4

2

2

5

5

74–80

Orenburg Region

3.5

5

3

3

4

4

3

3

3

74–80

Perm Krai

3.5

4

5

2

4

4

2

3

4

74–80

Republic of Kalmykia

3.5

1

5

5

1

4

5

2

5

74–80

Republic of Karelia

3.5

3

3

2

4

4

3

5

4

81

Stavropol Krai

3.625

3

3

5

2

5

4

2

5

82–84

Kemerovo Region–Kuzbass

3.75

5

5

2

5

2

3

4

4

82–84

Tomsk Region

3.75

2

4

2

4

5

4

5

4

82–84

Tyumen Region

3.75

1

4

1

5

5

5

4

5

85

Komi Republic

4.25

4

5

2

5

5

4

5

4

*  New regions have been excluded due to insufficient data.
Source: ACRA

Appendix 2. Ranking methodology

ACRA issued its first environmental ranking of Russian regions in 2021. In 2022, the Agency improved its ranking methodology and expanded the range of factors used in calculations8.

In order to compile the ranking, ACRA developed its own comprehensive environmental indicator that reflects the environmental priorities of a region. The indicator ranges from 1 to 5, where 1 is the maximum score, 5 is the minimum. A similar approach is applied by the Agency to assign solicited ESG ratings.

The integrated environmental indicator is calculated based on eight factors that reflect the environmental conditions in a region. The Agency used statistical data as of the end of 2022, with the exception of indicators available for 2021 only, including the share of captured and neutralized air pollutants in the total amount of pollutants from stationary sources, and GRP energy intensity.

In order to correctly compare regions with each other, specific values of the factors indicated in Table 3 below were used in the calculations of the integrated environmental indicator.

ACRA relied solely on official state statistics disclosed on the portal of the Unified Interdepartmental Information and Statistical System (UIISS)9, information from the almanac Regions of Russia. Socio-Economic Indicators10, as well as information published on the portal iMonitoring11.

Table 3. Factors used to calculate the integrated environmental indicator

factor

indicator used to calculate specific value

1

GRP energy intensity12

2

Environmental protection expenditures of the consolidated budget13

Total expenditures of the consolidated budget of a region

3

Environmental protection expenditures (general)14

Per capita, taking into account price level

4

Volume of air pollutants from stationary sources15

Per capita

5

Volume of air pollutants from mobile sources (motor16 and railway17 transport)

Per capita

6

Share of captured and neutralized air pollutants from stationary sources18

7

Wastewater discharge19

Per capita

8

Water intake from natural water sources20

Per capita

Источник: АКРА



8 For details, see ACRA’s commentary An environmental ranking of Russia’s regions for 2022 from December 16, 2022.
9 https://www.fedstat.ru/
10 https://rosstat.gov.ru/folder/210/document/13204
11 https://www.iminfin.ru/
12 https://www.fedstat.ru/indicator/42977
13 https://www.iminfin.ru/areas-of-analysis/budget/raskhody-byudzheta-sub-ekta/sravnenie-struktury-raskhodov-sub-ektov-rf?territory=45000000
14 https://rosstat.gov.ru/folder/11194
15 https://rosstat.gov.ru/folder/210/document/13204, p. 439.
16 https://www.fedstat.ru/indicator/42723
17 https://www.fedstat.ru/indicator/42722
18 https://rosstat.gov.ru/folder/210/document/13204, p. 441.
19 https://rosstat.gov.ru/folder/210/document/13204, p. 449.
20 https://www.fedstat.ru/indicator/34563

To determine the integrated environmental indicator, ACRA uses specific values of factors calculated as the ratio of the absolute value of a factor (for example, the volume of air pollutants, wastewater discharge, or water intake from natural water bodies) to the population of a relevant region.

In terms of the environmental expenditures, their share in the structure of the consolidated budget expenditures of a region is calculated. For the factor Environmental Protection Expenditures (General), the calculation is made per capita with an adjustment for the price level in a region.

The GRP energy intensity and share of captured and neutralized pollutants in the total amount of pollutants from stationary sources are already given as specific values in the state statistics.

Use of specific values allows ACRA to compare regions with each other and assign scores. For each factor, ACRA conducts its assessment based on a quintile analysis. In this approach, the whole set of specific values of a region for each factor is divided into five groups — quintiles. The upper and lower limits of the factor’s specific value are determined for each of the quintiles. The score of a region in each of the factors corresponds to the ordinal number of the quintile, within which its specific value falls: 1 is assigned to the best regions, 5 to the worst. Then the scores for each factor are summed up (taking into account the equal weights of each of the eight factors used) to a final integrated environmental indicator. The indicator value is used to determine the rank of a region. Regions that receive equal final scores are ranked equally.

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Analysts

Vladimir Gorchakov
Director, Sustainable Development Risk Assessment Group
+7 (495) 139 04 80, ext. 132
Polina Zagorodnikh
Senior Analyst, Sustainable Development Risk Assessment Group
+7 (495) 139 04 80, ext. 157
Svetlana Panicheva
Head of External Communications
+7 (495) 139 04 80, ext. 169
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