Georgia is a favorable investment destination, with a simple tax code consisting of six flat taxes and a total tax rate of only 16% on commercial profits that are distributed. Georgia was ranked 16th on the World Banks Ease of Doing Business for 2017 (by contrast, Switzerland is No. 31 and Norway No. 6), and No. 13 on the Bribery Risk Scale of the “Trace”, an International Transparency Rank (Switzerland is No. 16 and Norway No. 5). Georgia has signed an Association Agreement with the EU, is a member of WHO, has ratified the Energy Charter Treaty and signed the New York Convention.

On Sunday July 16 2017, participants of the ISET Summer School of Reformers visited the Shuakhevi Hydro Power Plant developed by Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL), a company set up specifically for this purpose as a joint venture between India’s Tata Power and Norway's Clean Energy Invest (with shares of 40% each), and IFC (with 20 %). A presentation made by the CEO of AGL, Mr. Prashant Joshi, CEO of AGL; Mr. Josh Gerard, Project Manager of AGL; and Mr. Zviad Diasamidze, the head of Corporate Responsibility of AGL. This was followed by a tour of the Power House, the Dam and the Reservoir, during which the AGL representatives explained the project’s cycle, showed maps of the facilities, and shared AGL’s impressive initiatives for improving the lives of people living in the area of construction.

On the 25th of May, ISET was pleased to host the environmental economist and founder of the consultancy company GIST Advisory, Pavan Sukhdev, for a presentation. Starting his career as a physicist, Mr. Sukhdev got interested in the challenges of environment protection. This led him to investigate economics, particularly aiming at understanding the significance of businesses as a driver of the changes that we see around us as well as third party impacts, which are known as externalities in economics. Mr. Sukhdev highlighted corporate externalities as being the “biggest free lunch in human history”. Created by private companies, externalities cause huge damages. Companies earn profits at the expense of public losses, reaching from 10 to 15 trillion dollars or 15-20% of global GDP. A study by the NGO “Trucost” found that in 2010 five sectors, namely electricity, oil and gas, industrial metals and mining, food and construction are responsible for about 60% of environmental cost. Yet, as pointed out by Mr. Sukhdev, the private sector operates in the scope of legal framework and can therefore be influenced and regulated by the society.

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