Committing to Governance Standards in Russia

Below is an excerpt from a letter to the editor of the FT from Brook Horowitz, executive director of the International Business Leaders Forum in response to Gideon Rachman’s recent column about TNK-BP. We generally agree that it is the investors who have as much work to do in demanding standards and fighting corruption and bribery as the Russian authorities.

Indeed, I would argue that much more can be done by the western business and financial community to promote responsible business practices in Russia. International investors should be more demanding in insisting on Russian companies’ adherence to the best governance standards. They should resist glossing over some of the fundamentals in their interest of buying into this rapid-growth economy. They should also pay more attention to Russian companies’ sustainability policies and – above all – practices. Stock markets should agree on a single corporate governance standard for prospective companies wishing to do an initial public offering – the current gap between the listing requirements in New York and London undermines the international community’s position on business standards. A more rigorous approach would demonstrate the international community’s own unambiguous commitment to such standards and stimulate even more rapid and widespread change within Russia and other emerging markets.