As promised, here’s a link to my podcast interview with Microsoft Russia’s boss, taped on Monday this week.
I asked him about how the sustainability agenda is developing in Russia, his advice for companies entering the Russian market, and about the importance of tackling corruption, and how it might be better achieved by companies in Russia.
I did also speak with him, off tape, about the issues raised in this previous blog posting and by the New York Times recently with regard to local lawyers, Russian police and environmental NGOs.
I didn’t include questions about that in the podcast interview, mainly because we had just discussed it in detail before I turned the tape on.
I won’t quote what Nikolay Pryanishnikov told me directly, as I had not made it clear when we spoke whether my questions were on the record or off. So I think it wouldn’t be ethical of me to quote him.
But what did come across to me from our conversation, was that Microsoft was taking the issue of how it works with NGOs and the Russian authorities, very seriously.
It also seems clear that they will be doing much more checking up in future, on what third parties are up to, who also happen to work for them.
The NY Times had painted the situation a little differently. The “simplify and exaggerate” criticism of the media is very often still true. It’s possible it applied in this case.
(If you haven’t read the NY times story, I linked to it in my previous posting mentioned above)
As mentioned in my post last week, for companies the reputation management picture is so much more complex these days.
Not only do you have to keep an eye on what your employees are doing, but also what third parties who are easily associated with your name are up to.
Companies tackling bribery and corruption have found this out, often to their cost, in recent times.
Now the notion of a ‘values audit’ of key suppliers is gaining ground as a result.
Tackling this issue of what agents do in your name, or whilst associated with your name, is probably one of the hardest business ethics challenges today.
Meanwhile, enjoy the podcast with Nikolay Pryanishnikov. His enthusiasm and sharp analysis are well worth a listen to.