The Lake Baikal Foundation for Environmental Applications and Research was established on November 22 2016 to grant its assistance to academic institutions, protected areas and other entities interested in the preservation of the Lake Baikal and its natural area.

Besides, the mission of the Foundation is build an expert dialogue with the government, business, scientific community and society within the Lake Baikal natural area context.

“The establishment of the Foundation is a consistent continuation of the company development strategy offering a systematic approach to corporate social responsibility and serving the global UN Millennium Development Goals in terms of ensuring environmental sustainability. 10% of the company’s profits will be granted to the development of the Foundation. Thus, the company will contribute to the implementation of specific projects at the Lake Baikal natural area and all the company’s customers will automatically become participants of the Foundation initiatives,” the company CEO Eduard Voytenko said.

By now, Lake Baikal Foundation has reached agreement with the Research Institute of Biology of Irkutsk State University to support one of its key projects “Point No1”, a long-term ecological monitoring of Lake Baikal, which was facing the risk of freezing due to the specifics of budgetary allocations for science. More than 5 million records have been collected throughout the period of monitoring, a heritage for various scientific studies. The monitoring was included into the Russian Book of Records as the longest (70 years-long) project of regular environmental monitoring in the history of science.

In addition to supporting basic research, the Foundation identifies the work dedicated to the development of educational and eco-tourism as a priority for the next year. Currently, the interaction formats with reserved territories are negotiated, and a special educational program on popularization and promotion of smart tourism is being developed for the Mass Communications and Multimedia Department of Irkutsk State University.

As part of the project launch, in October 2016 the Lake Baikal Foundation jointly with the Analytical Center of the National Agency for Financial Studies conducted a poll entitled ‘What Baikal is for the Russians’. According to the survey, the Russians take pride in Baikal and call it the second attraction in Russia after the Kremlin. 37% of respondents would like to travel to Baikal; the lake ranks among top 3 destinations in Russia for our citizens (following Crimea (44%) and St. Petersburg (40%). However, only every second respondent knows where the lake is situated. It is noteworthy that the majority of respondents (62%) agree with the statement that budgetary funds should be allocated for the environmental protection of Baikal. The results of the poll were presented at the Tass press conference on December 5 2016, on the 20th anniversary of Lake Baikal designation as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO.

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