Moscow – PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev took part in an online conference hosted by the Skolkovo business school on sustainability scenarios for large businesses during crisis situations.
The moderator Evgeny Kaganer, Dean of Academic Affairs at the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management and a professor at the IESE Business School, discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and market volatility on the activities of large companies with Ruben Vardanyan, an investor and entrepreneur, and with Mr Guryev, who is also the President of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association.
“We are now, for the first time, in a new crisis that still needs to be acknowledged. This is a crisis on a global scale; this is a versatile, multifaceted crisis that is happening to everyone at the same time. In this sense, what makes it unique is not the fact that it is the most serious or most profound crisis, but that it is happening on all fronts simultaneously. With this in mind, how businesses conduct themselves, how they make decisions and respond to the crisis must be suited to the reality of the situation,” said Mr Vardanyan.
He noted that the current situation poses four challenges for businesses at once: the need to adapt to strict quarantine measures, the onset of negative economic and social consequences on the ground, the possibility of a long-term global recession and the acceleration of new economic trends, such as the digitalisation of business processes.
PhosAgro’s Mr Guryev stressed that the world has entered “into unknown and uncharted territory, where things that previously seemed unimaginable and impossible now appeared to be necessary and effective measures.”
He spoke about the rapid implementation – in cooperation with local and regional authorities – of quarantine measures in the cities where the company operates: Cherepovets, Kirovsk, Apatity, Volkhov and Balakovo.
“The sooner we take the necessary measures, the faster we will get out of this crisis situation and the less severe the consequences will be. These rather stringent measures are absolutely vital to stopping the spread of the virus,” said Mr Guryev.
He added that in a crisis, the key to the sustainable operation of any large company is preserving all the links in existing supply chains. In this regard, large companies should have operating regulations in place in case of the development of any sort of epidemiological situation, as is the case at PhosAgro. Redundancy schemes need to be worked out for key personnel involved in ensuring the uninterrupted operation of production facilities. In developing these schemes, companies should take into account the successful experience of businesses in those countries that were first hit by the epidemic: in China, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“The Coordinating Council of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) on combating coronavirus infection will provide businesses with access to the epidemic response measures developed by leading Russian and international companies. This will help ensure that efforts are coordinated, that task forces fighting the epidemic exchange experiences, and that the best preventive practices to maintain production continuity are replicated,” said Mr Guryev, who is co-Chairman of the RUIE Coordinating Council.
Mr Guryev also heads the central PhosAgro task force for preventing COVID-19 at the Group’s enterprises. Local coronavirus task forces in place in all the Company’s structure divisions report to the central task force. PhosAgro’s CEO is the head of a similar task force within the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association, and he is involved in the work of the Coronavirus Alliance.
All PhosAgro enterprises are operating under special regulations. Employees taking part in the uninterrupted production cycle must undergo a medical exam before starting work. Their body temperature is measured on a regular basis using non-contact thermometers, and streaming thermal imagers have been purchased for installation at the main entrances to facilities. All other employees began working remotely well in advance.
All internal meetings are conducted through video conferences, and a ban on business travel has been in place for more than a month. Additional measures to disinfect workplaces and vehicles are being carried out. Antiseptic dispensers and air decontamination equipment have been installed at production facilities. All employees of Company enterprises have been provided with a full supply of masks. A section has been created on PhosAgro’s corporate intranet for sharing relevant materials on the topic of disease prevention.
The Company is providing assistance to medical institutions in the cities where it operates: ambulances are being purchased that are equipped with the necessary medical equipment and ventilators, and ventilators, oxygen concentrators, disposable syringes, test tubes for blood and biomaterials, filter masks, protective goggles and hazmat suits, air disinfectants and decontamination equipment are being purchased for healthcare facilities.
PhosAgro has been acquiring tests and reagents for conducting rapid coronavirus testing for residents of the cities where it operates and its employees. Together with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, PhosAgro is implementing a pilot system for implementing the latest rapid testing system. The first batch of rapid tests was delivered to Kirovsk and Apatity several days ago.