Latest Updates: (MT) Johnson & Johnson, Decathlon Halt Business in Russia.
“All American companies must leave their market immediately because it is flooded with our blood.” – President Volodymyr Zelensky
“There isn’t a both-sides anymore.” – Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management.
This CBS video is a good introduction to Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his list of U.S. corporations and their relationship to Russia.
Pulling the economic chair out from under Putin will take more than seizing yachts. Although Tucker-flavored propaganda and threats are still convincing to many Russians, fights over empty shelves in grocery stores are cracks in Kremlin control. Although Putin assures them that “we will solve all these problems while working in a calm fashion,” impromptu violence over shortages are warnings of larger-scale revolts which could engulf and distract Putin from his plans for a brutal “self-cleansing.” And the faster he runs out of money for soldiers and guns, the more people might survive in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, in shades of the Holocaust, there are news reports of assassination lists, the forceable deportation of thousands of Ukrainians “refugees” to Russia and according to Komsomolskaya Pravda, Putin’s plans to saw Ukraine up into four powerless states: Crimea, New Russia, Little Russia, and West Ukraine.
UPDATE: Anonymous has entered the field, targeting companies that haven’t left Russia yet. Nestle, whose only apparent concession was to stop selling KitKat and Nesquik, has had a data breach of more than 50k business customers.
We have two missions:
“Consumers have signaled a clear interest in seeing brands reassess their place in Russia as emotions run high. A survey by research firm Gartner found that eight in 10 U.S. adults could name an action they’d like to see marketers take, with reconsidering doing business in Russia or with Russian partners topping the list. Other steps, like donating aid or making a statement, ranked comparatively low.”
- We want to inform consumers which companies are still supporting Putin and to ask them to stop buying their products or services here in the U.S. wherever possible.
- We want consumers to use their power – tell companies that we expect them to unite in undermining Putin’s reign of terror – stop filling up his grocery shelves, stop employing his citizens, and stop propping up his economy. We have sample letters for thanks and spanks and additional links for information about specific companies.
Yale researcher Jeffrey Sonnenfeld’s newly reorganized list of companies’ current relation to Russia, is updated daily here. He recently added a new category. It’s the #3-#5 categories we’re concerned with.
- 1) WITHDRAWAL – Clean Break: Surgical Removal, Resection (252 as April 8)
- 2) SUSPENSION – Keeping Options Open for Return: (237 companies)
- 3) SCALING BACK – Reducing current operations (62 companies)
- 4) BUYING TIME – Holding off new investments/Developments (91 companies)
- 5) DIGGING IN – Defying Demands for Exit or reduction of activities: (131 companies)
(Forbes) Across corporate America, the war in Ukraine is revealing the shortcomings of a social media post or corporate statement that doesn’t quickly outline concrete action, as the moral expectations consumers, employees and clients have for the private sector grow amid the brutality of war.
“As I’ve looked at some of these statements in draft form, which say ‘we care about Ukraine, we’re making donations,’ my question is ‘are you or are you not continuing to do business in Russia?’ ” says Anthony Johndrow, who leads a reputation advisory firm. “You have to answer the question. If you can’t answer it publicly—if you’re not ready to answer it yet … be prepared you’re not going to be allowed to be quiet for very long.”
Food & beverage service corporations that need to CEASE operations.
“These brands thought they were representing Western values and a spirit of freedom and global harmony. They were blind to the signals because of perestroika ideology and the religion of the free market. – Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management.
These corporations are still open in Russia but have declared that they are NOT GOING TO INVEST FURTHER, which is of little interest or issue to their current clientele. What would get their attention and counter Putin’s propaganda? A locked door and a sign saying “closed forever.” Said Sonnenfeld, “Not every restaurant chain has the luxury of McDonald’s, which directly operated 85% of its 847 locations in Russia. But as Starbucks demonstrated in their attractive buyout of franchisees, a lack of action reflects a lack of will, not a dearth of options.”
- Focus Brands: (Cat #4) They own Cinnabon, Carvel ice cream, Schlotzsky’s sandwiches, Auntie Anne’s pretzel, McAlister’s, and Jamba. They have four master franchises and 195 partner cafes that still operate in Russia. “In a statement sent to Newsweek, Focus Brands said while the company has put all investments and expansion plans in Russia on hold, all of their locations in the country are independently owned and operated. The company said it will be donating the funds from their franchised locations in Russia to non-profits “who are providing humanitarian aid to evacuees from Ukraine.” Contact: email@example.com.
- Yum!Brands: (Cat #4) Yum!Brands owns KFC, Hamburger Habit and Pizza Hut. “Like so many across the world, we are shocked and saddened by the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine. Yum! Brands has suspended all investment and restaurant development in Russia while we continue to assess additional options. Yum! will also redirect all profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts. As always, we remain focused on the safety of our people in the region and will continue to act decisively to support our teams in Ukraine.” Contact: CEO David Gibbs firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subway: (Cat #5)This company which has 446 restaurants in Russia, has said in a statement that its Russian restaurants are also owned by local franchisees. “We don’t directly control these independent franchisees and their restaurants,” the chain says. Instead, it has pledged to donate profits from Russian operations “to humanitarian efforts supporting Ukrainians who have been affected by the war.” Contact: CEO John Chidsey press@subway
- Inspire Brands – Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins: (Cat #4) Inspire Brands also own Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy Johns, Rusty Taco, and Sonic. “The Canton-based coffee and doughnut company is halting “all current development and investment in Russia,” amidst that country’s invasion of Ukraine, a Dunkin’ spokesperson said in a Thursday afternoon email. The company’s “approximately 20″ locations in Russia will not necessarily close, as they are owned and operated by “a local, independent franchise owner,” the spokesman said. But the company, which is owned by Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, will withdraw corporate support and halt any future growth.” They’ve forgotten the phrase about donating their profits. Contact: Ceo@inspirebrands.com
Sample email: I’m writing because [___] is on the list of companies whose businesses are still open in Russia, despite the war crimes Vladimir Putin is committing. We’ve read the statement that your investments and expansion plans in Russia are on hold, but that you are helpless to do more because your locations in the country are independently owned and operated. This is a diversion. Allowing your iconic Western-syle restaurants to remain open, helps the Kremlin’s propaganda machine maintain a facade of implied international support that Putin needs to maintain his grip on power.
As for your pledge of donating the profits from your Russian franchises to organizations providing humanitarian aid to evacuees – your donations are irredeemably drenched in blood. The taxes from every meal or treat you sell funds the soldiers, guns and ammunition murdering Ukrainians. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Starbucks walked away and “paused” store operations. Follow their example. Remove your branding and LOCK your doors. Sanctions won’t work until EVERYONE stops funding Russia’s war machinery and helps crack the Kremlin’s media facade. Until you do so, I’m sharing the list of companies funding crimes against humanity on my social media. It just takes a minute for people to check and decide to find alternate dining choices. And don’t be surprised if protesters show up outside your franchises here to help remind people of what your brand is funding.
“We’re just making sure Russians have “essential” products”… or “Think of the babies!”
We are. The ones’ being bombed and buried alive in Ukraine.
Says the listmaker – “Consumer goods stalwarts such as Carlsberg, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft-Heinz, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle and Pepsi are hesitant to cut off the supply of so-called essential items such as baby food, diapers, and chocolates. But the “essential” label rings hollow: Although Oreo Cookies, Cadbury, and Dannon’s Cheesecake Yogurt may be sacred household items for many of us, they are hardly necessities of life.” (The following entries are from FoodDive unless noted otherwise.)
- General Mills: (Cat #4) Considered to have minor role, no plants, employees. Freezing advertising and capital investments.
- PepsiCo: (Cat #3) Russia generates about 4% of annual revenue and owns a snack plant and dairy factory in the country. Suspending sales of some products, along with capital investments, but selling some essential products like milk and baby food. Update: They’ve just made a deal to send seed potatoes to Russia.
- Contact: CEO Ramon Laguarta
- Contact: CEO Ramon Laguarta
- Kellogg: (Cat #4) Kellogg’s three plants in Russia generate just over 1% of the company’s business. Suspending shipments and investments, but continuing to produce “essential staple foods locally for local people.”
- Contact: CEO Steven Cahillane email@example.com
- Danone: (Cat #4) Danone brings in around 6% of its sales from Russia and Ukraine. It has 18 plants in Russia. Suspending investments, but continuing to provide essentials, including fresh dairy products and infant nutrition. (Hey, Fazer and Valio have walked. You should too.)
- Contact: CEO North America Shane Grant firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nestle: (Cat #4) Update: Nestle has decided to pull KitKat and Nesquik out of Russia, perhaps because no one would mistake those as “essential” products. Russia provided 2% of sales in 2021 and has six Nestlé factories. Suspending capital investments, and continuing to supply essential items like baby food, cereals, soup and noodles. The prime minister of Ukraine stated “Paying taxes to the budget of a terrorist country means killing defenseless children and mothers.” Nice graphic of their product lines here. Asked why they’ve decided to continue to operate in Russia while its competitors were either pulling out or mothballing operations, a company source told Fortune privately, “They don’t control 30% of the market like we do.”
- Contact: CEO Ulf Mark Schneider email@example.com, CEO US: Steve Presley firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, Lisa.Gibby@nestle.com and email@example.com).
- Carlsberg: (Cat #3) In 2021, Russia and Ukraine accounted for approximately 13% of the company’s revenue and approximately 9% of the operating profit from its three regions. Suspending all new investments in Russia and exports from other Carlsberg Group companies to its Baltika Breweries subsidiary in Russia. The company confirmed it is ending production and sales of its flagship brand in the country on March 9, but will continue to run its Baltika Breweries as a separate business.
- Contact: Cees Hart firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mars: (Cat #4) The company has about $2 billion invested in Russia. Last week, Mars suspended promotional and social media activity in Russia and Belarus and pledged to put any profits from its Russia segment toward humanitarian causes. The company is scaling back operations to focus on “feeding people and pets ” The company has worked in Russia for 30 years and has about 6,000 employees there. It said it would halt import and exports in Russia for the time being, a move that follows Unilever, another influential CPG giant.
- Contact: CEO Grant F. Reid, address to email@example.com
- Mondelēz International: (Cat #4) About 3.5% of its revenue, or about $1 billion, comes from Russia. Scaling back all non-essential activities while helping maintain continuity of food supply. (They make chewing gum, chocolate and biscuits! Seriously! Finland’s Fazer is leaving. You should too.)
- Contact: CEO Dirk Van de Put firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Proctor and Gamble: (Cat #4)They have discontinued all new capital investments in Russia, but are still producing “basic health, hygiene and personal care items needed by the many Russian families who depend on them in their daily lives.”
- Contact: CEO David S. Taylor email@example.com
- Natura: (Cat #3)(Body Shop, Avon, and Aesop). The Brazilian beauty conglomerate confirmed it will suspend product delivery in Russia to The Body Shop and Aesop franchise partners and it will move its fragrance production to Poland. However, Avon will continue to supply its social selling representatives in the country to “sustain their financial independence”, while donating more than R$3m to relief organisations in Ukraine, such as the Red Cross, and provided personal care products to refugees.
- SC Johnson (Cat #5) This is an interesting one. According to the list, they are still running a factory in Chudovo in western Russia. However, all current links to the journal times.com regarding this no longer function (and here.) A 2016 article states they purchased the factory from Mondelez. Their statement only mentions temporarily closing operations in Ukraine. CEO Herbert Fisk Johnson III apparently stated “Business has both an opportunity and an obligation to make the world better.”
- Contact: CEO Herbert Fisk Johnson III firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emerson Electric(Cat #5) They just published a “thoughts and prayers” statement, with the standard “no new investments.” Now we wait for the listmakers to grade the seriousness of their “curtailing our operations” statement. They have a lovely “Values” page.
- Contact: CEO Lal Karsanbhai email@example.com
- Renault – separate letter below
- International Paper – separate letter below
- Koch Industries – separate letter below
Sample email: I’m writing because [___] is on still on a list of companies who have refused to cease all operations in Russia, despite the war crimes Vladimir Putin is committing. You’ve stated that your investments and expansion plans in Russia are on hold, but that you must remain to provide “essential” products to the Russian population. That’s ridiculous. Russians survived before you showed up and they will survive after you go. The only people who need “essential products” for survival right now are the Ukrainians.
Not only are your taxes directly funding Russian soldiers, guns and ammunition as Putin commits crimes against humanity in a democratic and sovereign nation, you are also propping up his propaganda machine by keeping shelves full your products, maintaining the facade of business-as-usual functioning and implied international support that Putin needs to maintain his grip on power. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Any donating of profits from your Russian businesses to organizations providing humanitarian aid to evacuees are irredeemably drenched in blood.
Please, walk away. STOP your supply chain and let Putin try to explain the resulting chaos. Sanctions won’t work until EVERYONE stops funding Russia’s war and propaganda machinery. General David Petraeus stated that “I cannot fathom why any of these companies are remaining in Russia helping the evil empire. It is indefensible and gravely troubling”.
I too cannot fathom why you are still there, and per MLK’s sound advice, I will not cooperate. I’m putting this message out on my social media for everyone to close their wallets to corporations aiding war criminals. It just takes a minute to check the list.
Renault – Category #5 They’ve folded!
Update 3/24/22: Nope, they weren’t going to get away with it after all. Yesterday’s news – “(Aljazeera) When Renault reopened the Moscow facility this week, the blowback was severe. A member of parliament called for a U.K. boycott, and Ukraine’s foreign minister followed suit soon after. Within hours, the company caved, suspending activity at the Moscow factory.”
Zelensky urged them: “Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others. They must cease to be sponsors of Russia’s military machine, sponsors of the killing of children and women, sponsors of rape, robbery and looting by the Russian army,” the Ukrainian president said Wednesday in a speech to the French parliament.”
Going against the flow, French carmaker Renault has just resumed production at its Moscow Plant, with the backing of the French state, its main shareholder. Since 2016, Renault has had a controlling two-thirds stake in Russian carmaker Avtovaz, making it more exposed than its rivals to the Russian market. It has over 36,000 Russian employees and the country accounts for 8% of its core earnings, according to Citibank.
However, this is a bad look for a company whose founder, Louis Renault, who “shared Henry Ford’s dislike of unions as well as a fair amount of his anti-Semitism,” was infamous for his enthusiastic collaboration with the Nazis while France was under German occupation. There is a 1939 photo of him proudly showing a model car to Hitler and Göring. He died in jail shortly after Paris was liberated from German occupation, before he could be tried for collaboration and his company was nationalized in 1945 in reprisal. Renault was accused of not assisting the French Resistance as other companies did, or asking its workers to sabotage” production of material for Germany. Other sources state he sabotaged his trucks by marking dipsticks low, so that engines dried and seized in action while on the Russian Front and that he cooperated to keep the Germans from taking his equipment and employees back to Germany. His grandchildren sued unsuccessfully to retake the company and currently the French state now owns 15% of Renault.
Contact: CEO Luca de Meo Lucademeo@renault.com, Lyudmila.firstname.lastname@example.org, Nicolas.email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear [Mr. de Meo],
I’m writing because I was appalled to learn that Renault resumed operations in Russia, despite the savage war crimes Vladimir Putin is committing in Ukraine. Of all the 400+ companies who’ve had to make hard decisions to stay or leave, it’s particularly disturbing that you and your partner – the French government, with a shared and sordid history of collaboration during the Third Reich, have committed once again to working in the interests of a monster.
Your company’s financial contributions to Putin’s war chest will fund soldiers, guns and ammunition and may trigger a possible global famine as a result of the destruction of Ukraine’s agriculture. This is trauma on a scale not seen since the last world war, and I can’t imagine that your company wants to be listed again as a corporate collaborator in crimes against humanity.
Will you stand by as police ransack your factory searching for employees Putin deems worthy of “cleansing”?
Will you watch quietly by as truckloads of captive Ukrainians are dropped off at your factory gates to take their place?
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Your company has had over 70 years to redeem your name. Why in the world would you return to being a global pariah?
International Paper – Category #5
- (earthsight) Russia is the world’s largest wood exporter. Though not as large an industry as oil and gas, the value of these exports is significant.
- Earthsight analysis exposes the Russian oligarchs with past and present links to President Vladimir Putin who are making a killing off a multibillion-dollar wood trade with Western firms
- The list includes powerful industry figures hit with Western sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was launched in part from Belarus
- Human rights and environmental groups have urged further action to boycott Russia and Belarus’s lucrative exports, but most major importers of Russian wood in the US and Europe are ignoring their calls
- Big brands, retail chains and construction projects in the West use goods from Putin’s cronies’ companies, the largest being U.S.-based International Paper, the world’s largest paper company, and the second largest importer of Russian timber or wood product in the US or Europe.
- They announced Friday afternoon that they may sell its 50% stake in a major Russian forest products company – Ilim Group, led by billionaire oligarch Zakhar Smushkin. However, they won’t suspend operations for now.
- Contact: CEO: Mark Sutton: https://www.internationalpaper.com/contact-us
Dear Mr. Sutton,
I’m writing because International Paper is still on a list of companies who haven’t ceased operations in Russia, despite the savage war crimes Vladimir Putin is committing in Ukraine. I had not realized, until the atrocities started, how important Russia’s timber market is to their economy, close behind their oil and gas sector. Therefore, your company’s financial contributions to Putin’s war chest not only are a huge factor in funding soldiers, guns and ammunition as he commits crimes against humanity in Ukraine, but may help trigger a possible global famine, as a result of the destruction of Ukraine’s agriculture. This is trauma on a scale not seen since the last world war, and I can’t imagine that your company wants to be listed as a corporate collaborator like those of WWII. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
I was pleased to read that you are considering selling your half of a partnership with Russian-owned Ilim and I urge you to do so. Please, do what is necessary to walk away. There are no two-sides to this. General David Petraeus stated that “I cannot fathom why any of these companies are remaining in Russia helping the evil empire. It is indefensible and gravely troubling.” Although over 400 companies have already cut ties with Russia, sanctions won’t work until the largest industries take a stand to destabilize Putin’s war and propaganda machinery. We need your help. Thank you.
KOCH – Category #5
“Koch Industries, whose owners gave to right-wing causes for years, is now financing Putin’s war. The people who make Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Quilted Northern toilet paper, Vanity Fair napkins and Georgia-Pacific lumber are abetting the spilling of Ukrainians’ blood.” Koch is also a major funder of climate change denying institutions, and like Betsy DeVos, is on a mission to privatize (destroy) public education. The company put out a statement:
“Koch company Guardian Industries operates two glass manufacturing facilities in Russia that employ about 600 people. We have no other physical assets in Russia, and outside of Guardian, employ 15 individuals in the country,” Robertson wrote. “While Guardian’s business in Russia is a very small part of Koch, we will not walk away from our employees there or hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government so it can operate and benefit from them (which is what The Wall Street Journal has reported they would do).”
“Doing so would only put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good.”
Like the oil-services providers below, Koch has allegedly violated international sanctions before. “Koch-Glitsch paid bribes to secure contracts in six countries (Algeria, Egypt, India, Morocco, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia) and that it violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran, including the sale of materials that helped the country build the world’s largest plant to convert natural gas to methanol used in plastics, paints and chemicals.“
Contact: CEO Charles Koch, Koch Industries contact form, email@example.com, Allen.firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Dear Mr. Koch (or other),
The statement made by your non-profit StandTogether questioning the effectiveness of sanctions ignores their very successful use by Russia to effect regime change against Ukraine. As you undoubtably know, after their third president, pro-West Viktor Yushchenko, lobbied for admission to NATO and the EU, Russia weaponized the price of natural gas exports to Ukraine, and then cut it off completely, to deliberately sink his popularity. Yushchenko was replaced in the 2010 election by puppet Viktor Yanukovych, and prices returned to normal.
The history of corporations in Nazi Germany has shown that there is a very thin line between self-interested businesses and willing collaborators to crimes against humanity. There are already reports of Ukrainians “refugees” being forceably relocated into Russia. While you posture over handing your company to Putin while continuing to support him economically, we all know that he can take your operation and install captured slave laborers any time he wishes. Do you imagine that there will some kind of due process? That you are so powerful that he’ll let you continue your profit stream without conditions? That we will not see you as a puppet for a monster?
Please, walk away. Shut your doors. Continue to pay your employees if you wish. Sanctions won’t work until EVERYONE stops funding Russia’s war and propaganda machinery. General David Petraeus stated that “I cannot fathom why any of these companies are remaining in Russia helping the evil empire. It is indefensible and gravely troubling”. I can’t either, so, in the meantime, I’m putting out a list on my social media for everyone to close their wallets to amoral corporations that aid war criminals. It just takes a minute to check the list when making purchasing decisions. (insteading.com/blog/koch-brothers-products/). Be better, Mr. Koch.
Here are a list of companies and industries in which the Koch brothers own a stake: (these are just the best known brands, more information here.)
- Paper Products: Angelsoft, Brawny, Dixie, Mardi Gras, Quilted Northern, Soft n Gentle, Sparkle, Vanity Fair
- Wood: Georgia-Pacific (largest plywood manufacturer in US – also owns most of the paper companies above).
- Textiles & Plastics: Polarguard, Stainmaster, Dacron, Lycra, CoolMax/SolarMax, Thermolite, and more.
- Chemicals, Coal, & Oil: Crude oil processing, Flint Hills Resources, lots of other commodities handled.
- Nitrogen: One more reason to make your own fertilizer – Koch Industries produces many synthetic fertilizers.
The “THANKS” Files. We believe in thanking those who do the right thing, while gently reminding them that we are watching them.
Will be updated as the status of more companies is verified.
UPDATE ON BOSE – 3/23/2022
Bose was originally listed as a Cat. #5, and we could find little information about the company’s intentions. They are now listed in Cat. #1.
“Bose contacted Fortune with a statement saying its name was listed by Sonnenfeld in error and that it has no operations in Russia whatsoever and “stands with the people of Ukraine.” The rest of its statement is as follows: “As of March 3, Bose stopped all product shipments into Russia. Bose does not sell directly to consumers in Russia – we do not operate retail stores or sell or ship products through any company operated website. On March 3, we stopped providing product to any independent third-party resellers. We strongly support and comply with all export laws and economic sanctions that have been put in place.”
LATE NEWS! “THANKS” to Authentic Brands (owners of Reebok, Aeropostale, Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers, Nine West and more). They are out!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
“Authentic Brands Group on Thursday announced it would suspend its operations in Russia—including those of Reebok stores—in light of the country’s “unrelenting attack on Ukraine.” The company was one of the last fashion businesses on a Yale School of Management list of companies “defying demands for exit of reduction of activities” in Russia.”
Sample email: To the leadership team at Authentic Brands,
Thank you for suspending your operations in Russia, joining over 400 companies that have already done so, until the war is ended and Ukraine is safe again. I’m glad that I won’t have to join thousands of like-minded people with signs outside your various stores. Instead of selling things to Russians, we now look forward to stories of donations you are making to Ukrainians who had to evacuate their homes with little more than what they were wearing.
LATE NEWS! “THANKS” to Pirelli (Cat. #4). They are out.
“PIrelli announced Thursday that it would halt its operations in Russia except for security tasks. The tire maker was one of the few companies operating in the bike market to continue to operate in Russia. The company appeared on a list maintained by Yale University’s Jeffrey Sonnefeld, who is tracking whether major brands have halted their business there.”
Sample email: To the leadership team at Pirelli,
Thank you for suspending your operations in Russia, joining over 400 companies that have already done so, until the war is ended and Ukraine is safe again. I and many bicycle enthusiasts were disappointed to see your company listed as a continued funder of Putin’s crimes against humanity in Ukraine. We are relieved to see your course correction. Thank you.
UPDATE! THANKS to Category #4-5 – The BIG THREE OIL-SERVICES. They say they are out.
Yeah, seriously. Halliburton,Schlumberger and Baker Hughes have just announced that they are suspending operations in Russia, in response to US sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. If this is true, it’s a huge deal because these former category #4-5 companies are the three biggest western oilfield services providers – they do the frontline work at oilfields such as drilling wells and producing oil and gas, the main source of Russia’s wealth. Their leaving will deal a huge blow to Putin’s economy and ability to wage war – “Oil companies pulling out, “combined with other financial measures, will make it much more difficult for the Russian petroleum industry to raise funding,” says Philip Nichols, a professor of social responsibility and ethics in business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who has worked in both Russia and Ukraine. “And oil and natural gas exploration are very capital intensive industries. We’re going to start feeling the effects of that relatively soon.”
We have changed our “spank” letters to “thank-you” letters. We’ll see if we can encourage them to continue down this path. All have been involved in sanction violations and/or investigations in the past.
- The author of the list, Jeff Sonnenfeld, wrote (before today’s news): “I met Jean Riboud, the legendary former Schlumberger CEO who over several decades built Schlumberger into being the largest in the industry, a company that under his leadership was considered the best managed firm in the world. A Buchenwald Holocaust survivor and fighter in the resistance against the Nazis, Riboud, who died in 1985, would not recognize his firm today.”
- Schlumberger has invested more than $10bn in Russia over the past decade and they have a record of sanctions violations, including a record $232.7 million criminal fine to the government for economic sanctions violations in connection with Iran and Sudan – the largest criminal fine in connection with an International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) prosecution.
- Contact: https://www.slb.com/contact-us/general-contact, CEO Olivier Le Peuch: oLePeuch@slb.com
Sample email: Dear Mr. Le Peuch,
I’m writing to thank your company for joining the over 400 companies who are exiting Russia due to war crimes committed against Ukraine. Your former CEO, Jean Riboud, a Buchenwald Holocaust survivor and fighter in the resistance against the Nazis, would be proud that you’ve chosen to cease all operations that enable Putin’s crimes against humanity. Riboud was well aware of the western collaborators who helped Hitler’s military and genocidal ambitions. He would have been horrified to see American companies repeating that history of complicity by aiding and abetting the decimation of a peaceful sovereign democracy, especially with a strategy that deliberately targets civilian noncombatants and children. Martin Luther King spoke to this – “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
However, according to experts, oilfield service providers, such as you, Halliburton and Baker Hughes leaving the field will have a huge impact on Putin’s continued ability to fund and wage war. Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenburg wrote “There isn’t a both-sides anymore.” Thank you for joining the right side of history.
Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes said the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an investigation into the company’s sale of products in projects that were impacted by U.S. sanctions.
- Contact: https://www.bakerhughes.com/contact-us, Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli: Lorenzo.Simonelli@bakerhughes.com
Sample email: Dear Mr. Simonelli,
I’m writing to thank your company for joining the over 400 companies who are exiting Russia due to war crimes committed against Ukraine. The history of Nazi Germany has shown that there is a very thin line between being an unwitting international corporation or a willing collaborator to crimes against humanity. Martin Luther King spoke to this – “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
However, according to experts, oilfield service providers, such as you, Halliburton and Schlumberger leaving the field will have a huge impact on Putin’s continued ability to fund and wage war. Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenburg wrote “There isn’t a both-sides anymore.” Thank you for joining the right side of history.
- “…Chief Executive Jeffrey Allen Miller was asked whether the prospect of sanctions would affect ‘the trajectory of the business in Russia.’ Miller replied, ‘These are things we’ve seen and done before. Always unfortunate in so many ways for so many people. But from a business perspective, we’ve managed these sorts of things up and down for, I hate to say, nearly 100 years. So these are the kinds of things that we would manage through.'”
- Note, like the other companies above, this is not their first sanction circus. “July 27, 2017 —The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Halliburton Company with violating the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) while selecting and making payments to a local company in Angola in the course of winning lucrative oilfield services contracts. They must pay a $29.2 million fine.”
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, web contact form here, CEO Jeff Miller: email@example.com
Sample email: Dear Mr. Miller,
I’m writing to thank your company for joining the over 400 companies who are exiting Russia due to war crimes committed against Ukraine. This reported decision is a relief, as CEO Jeffrey Allen Miller‘s statement that Halliburton would be able to “manage these sorts of things” was frankly concerning – as we were unsure if that signified continued expertise and support to a totalitarian regime. Your website states that Halliburton respects the “sovereignty of governments throughout the world’ and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you hadn’t just declared you were winding down operations, you’d have failed on the both claims. The history of Nazi Germany has shown that there is a very thin line between being an unwitting international corporation or a willing collaborator to crimes against humanity.
However, according to experts, oilfield service providers such as you, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger leaving the field will have a huge impact on Putin’s continued ability to fund and wage war. Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenburg wrote “There isn’t a both-sides anymore.” Thank you for joining the right side of history.
READ: A widely shared list of U.S. companies leaving and staying in Russia is holding business leaders accountable
BY JEFFREY SONNENFELD AND STEVEN TIAN
March 16, 2022 3:29 PM PDT
Lists—from school rankings to Oscar nominee lists to Craigslist to Schindler’s List—trigger unexpected impacts. Our recent authoritative categorization of corporate curtailment of Russian business activities, which we first published the week of Feb. 28, differentiated companies that halted their business in Russia from those who threw up a smokescreen by making refugee donations but continuing their business as usual.
This seemed to help catalyze surprising corporate moves, but we needed to provide more clarity, and now our team of analysts is doing so.
We have been told that our list of companies leaving and staying in Russia did provide courageous CEOs with the confidence to execute bold pronouncements. Plus, it reinforced prospectively courageous CEOs with the peer affirmation they sought, offering “benchmarking” to help them persuade their anxious, controversy-averse boards to join the stampede of responsible business leaders pulling out of Russia.
Finally, our list provided a much cited “hall of shame” that guided the voices of employees, customers, and investors seeking to show their disapproval. In fact, the first day our list appeared on CNBC, many of the companies we identified as remaining in Russia saw their stocks drop 15% to 30%, on a day where the key market indexes fell only two to three percent.
But we acknowledge that our list smoothed over some of the complexities related to these companies’ exits from Russia. Based on feedback from countless readers from around the world, we’ve refined our initial dichotomous “naughty and nice” list into four more precise categories. As of early March 17, those categories broke down as follows:
1) Withdrawing all business: 150 companies completely halting Russian engagement.
2) Suspending Operations: 178 companies temporarily curtailing Russian operations while keeping return options open.
3) Reducing Activities: 74 companies scaling back some but not all operations and/or delaying investments.
4) Economic Collaboration: 34 companies digging in, defying demands for exit or reduction of activities.
These new classifications reveal some clear patterns across sectors—calling attention to particularly courageous companies but also exposing pretenders.
While the companies in category #1, withdrawing all business, deserve special commendation, it may be simpler for some companies in more “asset-light” sectors to sever ties immediately. Thus, most lawyers, consultants, accountants, sports leagues, and technology service providers have been quicker to act than some capital-intensive industrial companies or retailers with large local workforces. Of course, the firms that are divesting massive assets, such as BP, Exxon, and Shell, deserve great recognition.
Many of the companies in category #2 have suspended all operations but stopped short of permanent withdrawal; this group includes automobile and tech companies with large sales teams in Russia, as well as investment-intensive manufacturers and brick-and-mortar retailers. Hesitant to fully dismantle their Russian operations, these companies continue to pay their local workers to maintain good relations with the Russian citizenry.
Some of their cautious attitude was admirable; it was anchored in loyalty to dedicated workers and a concern for their well-being. It also represents a cognitive time-warp, however, as this was the utopian strategic mindset of the bygone 1990s Perestroika age. The careers of this generation of leaders advanced with the idealistic spirit of globalization, when Western brands such as Levi’s, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coke, and Starbucks were symbols of liberation and freedom to Russians linking East and West together in a harmonious world—a world that is no more.
This context makes the smokescreen, window-dressing “withdrawals” of the companies in category #3, which have postponed unspecified future investments or suspended advertising while continuing substantive business operations, particularly disappointing.
Some companies cite humanitarian concerns in continuing business, such as pharmaceutical companies Abbott Labs, AbbVie, AmerisourceBergen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer. These companies have continued the flow of “essential” medicines and products, contending that humanitarian decency requires they keep health-related supply chains open.
But in truth, there are few ways for Western pharma companies to gauge what is being produced and for what purposes by their Russian subsidiaries. Hitler had a history of tampering and redirecting domestic R&D facilities—and it is all too easy to imagine Putin someday following the same playbook on bio-warfare, just as he is following the Hitler playbook in crimes against humanity and targeting of innocent civilians.
Likewise, consumer goods stalwarts such as Carlsberg, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft-Heinz, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle and Pepsi are hesitant to cut off the supply of so-called essential items such as baby food, diapers, and chocolates. But the “essential” label rings hollow: Although Oreo Cookies, Cadbury, and Dannon’s Cheesecake Yogurt may be sacred household items for many of us, they are hardly necessities of life.
Others in category #3 cite logistical challenges. Dunkin Donuts, Papa John’s, and Yum Brands are among the franchised food chains that have paused corporate support of Russian locations—yet Russian franchisees have kept many locations fully operational. Not every restaurant chain has the luxury of McDonald’s, which directly operated 85% of its 847 locations in Russia. But as Starbucks demonstrated in their attractive buyout of franchisees, a lack of action reflects a lack of will, not a dearth of options.
There are also the commodities traders such as Bunge, Cargill, and Trafigura who argue that suspending operations in Russia would debilitate world supply chains in essentials such as wheat, corn, and nickel; financial institutions who snap up depressed Russian bonds while supposedly winding down operations; manufacturers loath to suspend production across heavy industry plants throughout Russia; and large professional service firms who have only suspended service for the Kremlin, lagging behind peers who have exited completely.
But worst of all are the companies in category #4 that continue in Russia unabated. Oil servicers such as Halliburton and Schlumberger remain economic collaborators despite U.S. sanction. I met Jean Riboud, the legendary former Schlumberger CEO who over several decades built Schlumberger into being the largest in the industry, a company that under his leadership was considered the best managed firm in the world. A Buchenwald Holocaust survivor and fighter in the resistance against the Nazis, Riboud, who died in 1985, would not recognize his firm today.
Tech companies such as Citrix and Cloudflare claimed they were hesitant to cut off Russian network access because of humanitarian commitments—implying that peer tech leaders Oracle, Dell, IBM, Apple, HP, Xerox, Meta, Alphabet, and Twitter were less humanitarian in their own bold early exits.
Perhaps most paradoxical of all are the brand experts. Most of the major advertising agencies, including Interpublic Group, Publicis, Dentsu, and Leo Burnett, missed the moment, reluctant to cut ties even though top consulting firms McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, the Big 4 accounting firms, and top law firms have all exited. Amazingly, accountants, engineers, lawyers, and consultants showed more sensitivity to the outrage of geopolitical experts, government officials, Ukraine victims, investors, employees, and clients than the supposed opinion experts. Yes, perhaps brand advisors need a tutorial about brand management from their own clients.
Oppressive governments in India, Romania, Poland, East Germany, South Africa, and Ukraine were brought down in bloodless coups amid the stalling out of civil society. As we watch the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians, economic blockades are surely better than bombs and bullets. Companies that remain engaged in Russia have unconsciously echoed the strategic defense of those German executives from Hoechst AG I.G. Farben, and Flick convicted at Nuremberg or the misguided leaders of Woolworth’s, Texaco, Royal Dutch Shell, and others for their “constructive engagement” with Hitler’s Germany into the Second World War.
Just today, one of us was told by General David Petraeus that “we in the defense world use your list diligently as guidance. I cannot fathom why any of these companies are remaining in Russia helping the evil empire. It is indefensible and gravely troubling”.
As Charles De Gaulle advised in 1941, “At the end of our sorrow, there is the greatest glory of the world, that of the men who did not give in.” The leadership and constituencies of at least 400 global companies should feel great pride in their Russian exits. Then there are those other 34.