Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi are the latest U.S. brands to suspend business activity in Russia as fallout from the invasion of Ukraine grows.
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, announced on Tuesday it would cease operations at all 130 locations across Russia and Ukraine in light of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s decision to start a war in Europe. The Seattle-based chain is also suspending shipments of its products to Russia.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson described the Russian attacks as “horrific” in a Tuesday missive about the situation, noting the company would help the Russian workers affected by the decision to cut off business in the country.
MCDONALD’S WILL TEMPORARILY CLOSE MORE THAN 800 LOCATIONS IN RUSSIA
“Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood,” Johnson said. “Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency. Thank you for the care and concern you are sharing with me and your leaders."
Likewise, Coca-Cola announced on Tuesday afternoon it would also halt all business operations and activity in Russia until the situation resolves.
“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” the company said in a brief press release. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”
Not to be outdone by its largest competitor, soon after the Coca-Cola announcement, PepsiCo said it is ending Russian sales of Pepsi-Cola and its global beverage brands in Russia, including 7Up and Mirinda. It also said it would freeze capital investments and all advertising and promotional activities in Russia.
“As a food and beverage company, now more than ever we must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business. That means we have a responsibility to continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily essentials such as milk and other dairy offerings, baby formula and baby food,” said CEO Ramon Laguarta in an email. “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.”
Dating company Bumble also joined the crowded field of companies fleeing Russia on Tuesday, announcing it would remove all its apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Russia and Belarus.
The news comes as companies face pressure from the public to stop doing business in Russia. Over the weekend, #BoycottCocaCola was trending on Twitter due to the company continuing to operate there.
Starbucks and Coca-Cola’s announcements were preceded on Tuesday by McDonald’s, which said it would temporarily close more than 800 stores in Russia to address the “needless human suffering” occurring in Ukraine. CEO Chris Kempczinski informed employees of the decision in an email.
“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people,” Kempczinski wrote. “As a System, we join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace.”
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Other companies have already severed ties with Russia, including IKEA, Toyota, Nike, BP, Shell, and major shipping and mail companies. Given the departures, there have been some calls for the Russian government to intervene.
Andrei Turchak, secretary of the general council of the United Russia Party, revealed his party, which supports Putin, said the Russian government should move to nationalize operations of shuttered foreign companies to preserve jobs and insulate the country from further economic malaise.