Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever pause Russian operations


Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and consumer goods giant Unilever have all paused their operations in Russia over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, following threats of consumer boycotts.

International and consumer pressure for the food and beverage firms to suspend their operations in Russia had intensified as a number of other major companies, tech businesses and retailers have halted operations over the past fortnight.

Social media hashtags such as #BoycottCoke have been shared by hundreds of thousands of accounts, with high-profile figures such as Deborah Meaden urging followers to boycott the brands.

Consumer goods giant Unilever, home to hundreds of household-name brands including Marmite, Hellman’s and Ben & Jerry’s, has now stopped all imports and exports to and from Russia.

“We continue to condemn the war in Ukraine as a brutal and senseless act by the Russian state,” said Unilever CEO Alan Jope.

“We have suspended all imports and exports of our products into and out of Russia, and we will stop all media and advertising spend.

“We will not invest any further capital into the country nor will we profit from our presence in Russia.”

Unilever has stopped all business operations in Ukraine and is now “fully focused” on ensuring the safety of Ukrainian employees and their families, including “helping with their evacuation where necessary, and providing additional financial support.”

The company has also donated €5m of essential Unilever products to the humanitarian relief effort and continue to supply Russians with “everyday essential food and hygiene products” made in the country.

Read more: #BoycottCocaCola trends as customers slam
FMCG giant for continuing to operate in Russia 

Coca-Cola has also said it is suspending its business in Russia.

“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”

PepsiCo is suspending the sale of brands such as Pepsi and 7Up but will “stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business” by continuing to provide “daily essentials such as milk and other dairy offerings, baby formula and baby food.”

It added: “By continuing to operate, we will also continue to support the livelihoods of our 20,000 Russian associates and the 40,000 Russian agricultural workers in our supply chain as they face significant challenges and uncertainty ahead.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the West to boycott Russian goods and freeze exports on grounds of “morality”.

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