Why do companies that support war still make money in Ukraine?
For two years now, Ukrainian authorities have been asking foreign companies to stop doing business in Russia. But are they doing the same?
You can find lists of these companies on various websites, including those of non-governmental organizations like the Yale School of Management, KSE's "Leave Russia" project, and the Moral Rating Agency. You can also find them on The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) website. This is not just a personal effort; it's the official stance of the Ukrainian government.
However, this stance is mostly just words. According to Ahia Zahrebelska, who heads the department for reducing corruption risks at the NACP, “being listed as a sponsor of war doesn't lead to any legal restrictions.”
Some companies do get bothered by this "moral condemnation" and leave the Russian market, but there are very few of them. Business is all about profit, and many Western top managers seem willing to sacrifice their reputation (and potentially the lives of Ukrainians) for their yearly bonuses.
We may not be able to force foreign companies to leave Russia, but we can set the rules for their operations on our soil. Our country has imposed sanctions on Russian companies, and some were even nationalized. So, why doesn't the government restrict foreign companies operating in Ukraine while they continue to support the Russian economy? Why do we officially acknowledge these companies as international sponsors of war while they continue their operations in Ukraine without any problems?
I'm not suggesting we should abruptly shut down, forcefully close, or nationalize these companies. That would contradict our international obligations and harm our economy.
However, I believe there might be more effective legal ways to pressure these companies than just public condemnation. Let's start discussing potential options.
Perhaps we could start by labeling products from these companies in stores, similar to how Russian goods were labeled in 2014.
As a concerned citizen, what can you do? You can personally boycott these companies. Avoid shopping at Auchan and Metro, skip Yves Rocher cosmetics, Pepsi drinks, P&G household products, and Mars sweets.