As the war intensifies in Ukraine, food and beverage companies are under growing pressure from consumers and investors to scale back or suspend their operations in Russia.
Companies have taken divergent paths in responding to the situation with Russia. Some like Diageo and Carlsberg made a decision just a few days after the crisis to pause exports, while others remain quiet two weeks later.
Mars Wrigley, the maker of M&Ms and Milky Way, just announced it was suspending new investments as well as imports and exports of its products in the country, and scaling back operations. Several businesses, including Danone, PepsiCo and Nestlé, have announced they are stopping sales to all but necessary essential items like milk or baby formula.
However, Nutella-maker Ferrero, which has one of its largest plants in Russia, has not yet released a statement. General Mills, a publicly traded cereal maker, appears to be continuing its operations there, though its Russian website is no longer accessible. The company did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
How these large food and beverage companies navigate the crisis could have real impacts either to their bottom line or the perception people have of their brands. Buying habits increasingly are being influenced by the position a company takes on issues, such as Black Lives Matter or sustainability, and whether these stances mirror those of the shopper. If consumer sentiment continues to oppose the action in Ukraine, companies that haven’t taken action could see a hit to their sales.
Last week, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli wrote PepsiCo, Mondelēz International and other corporations in the state pension fund’s portfolio, urging them to end or pause their business activity in Russia.
“Companies doing business in Russia need to seriously consider whether it’s worth the risk,” he said following the announcement by PepsiCo and other companies to suspend their operations. “As investors, we want assurances that our holdings are not in harm’s way.”
Here is a list of large CPGs and changes they have made, if any, to their business operations in Russia. This will be updated regularly.