A report released by the Moral Rating agency pointed out that most of the multinational companies that promised to leave Russia, due to the War in Ukraine, are still active in the country.
Moral Rating is an organization created after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and its members are Ukrainians, British, Americans, Chinese, Koreans, Lithuanians, Malagasy (from the island of Madagascar), Russians, Turks and Singaporeans. The group’s objective is precisely to monitor the moral behavior of companies in relation to the war in Ukraine.
Among the 114 companies analysed, the report found that only seven companies (6% of the total) left Russia entirely after the start of the war. They are: Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, BMW Group, Deutsche Telekom, Honda Motor, Sysco and Valero Energy.
On the other hand, 63 companies (55%) adopted a compromise, suspending only part of Russian activities, but not completely terminating operations. “Many of them claim that they have severed ties with Russia, but in fact they continue with some activities or do not keep their promises,” the group said.
The remaining 44 multinationals (39%) – operating in Russia at the time of the invasion of Ukraine – made no official announcement about a potential withdrawal due to the war. Most of these companies are of Chinese origin.
“Moral washing” for Ukraine
The report criticized the fact that companies still keep buildings and employees in Russia as a way to expedite a possible re-entry into the market at a potential post-war time. The attitude was called “moral washing”, indicating that the companies only announced the “voluntary” withdrawal from the country after popular pressure, including from employees, customers and investors.
Among the companies that maintain some operation on Russian soil, have local assets or have not disclosed a deadline for the complete suspension of activities are large multinationals, many of them in technology, such as Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Dell, LG, Intel, Samsung, Sony. , among others.
Moral Rating cites some exceptions (or “loopholes”), such as Nestlé and PepsiCo who continue to sell milk in Russia for “humane” reasons; or Microsoft, which is “supporting schools and hospitals” in the offending country.
In the case of Apple, the report recalls that the company was applauded in March, when it stopped selling products and deactivated Apple Pay in Russia. However, the apple company allegedly withheld the information that it was still importing gold, tungsten and tantalum from Russian miners to manufacture its products. In reply to the website Fast CompanyApple claims it was no longer importing these metals from Russia.
“By avoiding the spotlight, they can keep their customers and shareholders in the dark, while continuing to gain from Russia and while the Putin regime benefits on the other side of the deal,” said Mark Dixon, founder of Moral Rating.