2-3 JULY, 2021

What is CEMS White Nights

CEMS White Nights is an annual pan-European conference for the students & alumni of the CEMS programme and GSOM

DATES: 2-3 JULY, 2021



12 speakers
4 industries

ONLINE days in
CEMS Club SPb Zoom

11:00 – 11:15 Opening of the first day of the conference

11:15 – 12:45 Central panel session

How to transform strategy and put society first?

Sustainable development has ceased to be a trend and a competitive advantage. Recent events show that it is exactly what helps companies to overcome crisis situations with the least losses. But how to completely change the orientation of the strategy not even to shared value, but to placing the individual and society at the very center of the essence of the company? We invite experts from the world’s leading companies who will share their experience in transforming business practices not only in Russia, but all over the world.

Key questions:

  • What business value do sustainable corporate strategies bring?
  • What are the challenges into incorporating sustainable development into the corporate strategies and what benchmarks to look for?
  • Do you measure your suitability/sustainable development? And how?
  • Are Sustainable Strategies exonomically viable?
  • Are engagement processes in place and working effectively? (for employees and customers)
  • Thinking about society, do sustainable corporate strategies actually promote and facilitate change?
  • How can someone actually understand whether a company “greenwashes” the customers?
  • Sustainable strategies: is it an option or the new business model of the future?

Thomas Schulz, CEO, FLSmidth
Ekaterina Luzhnyh
, Country Sustainability and Community Engagement Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Russia
Ruslan Nozdryakov, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, P&G Eastern Europe
Irina Efremova-Garth, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, IBM Russia and CIS

Ioannis Christodoulou, an Academic Director of CEMS MiM Programme at GSOM SPbU, and an Associate Professor of Strategy

13:00 – 14:00 Inspiring chat/Public talk

Inspiring chat key questions:

  • How to create a career plan for a young specialist?
  • What is the peculiarity of career growth in different countries?
  • How to adapt to cross-cultural differences?

Anna Maeva, Advisor at VTB Bank, ex Vice President HR Procter & Gamble

Interactive public talk:

Hilti human resource management: Impact of Hilti HR practices on company sustainability

Zuzana Jurakova, Vice President of Human Resources, Hilti Corporation

14:00 – 14:45 Lunch break

14:45 – 17:45 Skill – seminar 1

Fallacies and discrepancies of sustainable business models and the way forward: can we reach global sustainability?

Dr. Robert Reinhardt, Sustainable Business Consultant & Researcher, PhD Environmental Engineering

18:00 – 21:00 Skill – seminar 2

Strategies in times of crisis: How to perform in a new world

Dr. Moustafa Haj Youssef, Senior Lecturer in International Strategic Management at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom

You can have a detailed look at skill seminars here.

12:00 – 12:15 Opening of the second day of the conference

12:20 – 13:50 Panel session

The future of sustainable funding

Sustainable financing has become a major topic in recent years. Dividends and earnings ceased to be the main factors in investing decision-making: investors all around the world started to pay attention to the social and ecological responsibility of a business. But how can these aspects be measured and converted into numbers? Together with the representatives of several ESG-oriented companies, we will look into the reality of sustainable financing in Russia, discuss existing criteria, understand the purpose of green bonds, and try to foresee the future of ESG in finance.

Key questions:

  • Why are companies and governments increasingly focused on the market for sustainable finance?
  • How does the sustainable finance mechanism work?
  • What is currently being done in Russia in order to launch and develop the market for sustainable finance?
  • What is the outlook for the development of sustainable financial instruments in Russia and globally?

Polina Lion, Rosatom, Head of ESG Department
Alexey Bogatov, Sberbank, Vice President, Head of ERM
Uzayr Jeenah, McKinsey & Company (Johannesburg office), Junior Partner, head of ESG service line in EEMA (Eastern Europe, former USSR, Turkey, Middle East, Africa)
Viktoria Blatova, AFK Systema, Head of ESG
Nikita Vorobyev, NLMK, Head of ESG

Andrey Bayda, Russian State Development Corporation VEB.RF, Vice President, Head of ESG Finance

13:50 – 14:40 Lunch break

14:40 – 16:10 Panel session / Public Lecture

Surrounded by Sharks: How to Behave in a Red Ocean?

There are many highly competitive industries in Russia: companies are fighting for consumer attention every day, creating diverse strategies and behaviors to stand out in oversaturated markets. In this session, we will bring together the senior executives of companies that successfully operate in such industries. The speakers will be encouraged to share their view on constant competition and explain how to build a strategy when you are surrounded by “sharks”.

Key questions:

  • How to build a strategy to overcome competition?
  • What is needed to stand out? Positioning, uniqueness, and added value.
  • Where is the balance between best practices and uniqueness?
  • Keeping distance or sharing experience: how to interact with competitors?

Boris Kaptelov, CFA, Chief Operating Officer of Advertisement Technologies, Mail.ru Group
Andrei Ryan, Head of Strategy & Performance Management at Yandex Market
Michael Dong, Senior Strategy Manager, DiDi

Ioannis Christodoulou, Academic Director of CEMS MiM Programme at GSOM SPbU, Associate Professor of Strategy

Creating a Zero-Waste Business from Scratch

It is getting clear that waste management is more than essential in today’s world. Due to the rapid population growth and the increased pace of life, the generation of waste is doubling day by day and the increase in waste is affecting the lives of many people. Among others, the growing attention to this topic found expression in the business models of major international companies that brought to the attention the concept of zero-waste management. During the lecture, we will find out what it takes for a company to go zero waste and how it could affect the everyday life of all of us. The speaker will represent a company that heavily engages in zero-waste management.

Key questions:

  • How сan the company build everything from scratch?
  • Why is it important for the company?
  • Is it profitable?
  • How successful is the initiative and what are its future perspectives?

Denis Agenorov-Papulovskiy, Sustainability Leader IKEA Dybenko and CSC
Olga Pentelkina, Furniture Take Back Project Leader IKEA Retail Russia

16:30 – 17:30 Business Game with DiDi

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