McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks have joined the list of companies that have suspended operations in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.
McDonald’s announced the temporary closure of its 850 outlets in Russia, while Starbucks announced the closure of its 100 coffee shops.
McDonald’s stated the decision was made in reaction to “needless human suffering” in Ukraine.
It’s “difficult to determine” when the company will reopen, according to the company.
In a memo to staff that was shared publicly, CEO Chris Kempczinski said, “The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people.”
“As a system, we abhor aggressiveness and violence and hope for peace with the rest of the world.”
McDonald’s has stated that it will continue to pay its approximately 62,000 employees in Russia. There have also been supply chain concerns for the company.
As Russian violence against civilians has increased, firms such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and others have being pressed to take action.
On Monday and over the weekend, the hashtags #BoycottMcDonalds and #BoycottCocaCola were trending on Twitter.
Hundreds of well-known companies, including Netflix and Levi’s, have already halted sales or services in Russia as a result of harsh sanctions imposed by Western allies.
McDonald’s opened its doors in Moscow in 1990, just as the Soviet Union’s economy was opening up, attracting tens of thousands of people to sample its burgers and fries.
As tensions with the West over Russia’s annexation of Crimea grew in 2014, some of its eateries were closed as part of a food safety probe that many perceived as politically motivated.
The closing now has symbolic value and is likely to affect other businesses.
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The bulk of McDonald’s restaurants in Russia are owned by the company. The restaurants make for around 9% of the company’s income and 2% of worldwide sales when combined with Ukraine.
It has also temporarily closed its 108 locations in Ukraine, where salaries are still being paid and a $5 million employee assistance fund has been established.
Ronald McDonald House Charities will continue to operate in Ukraine and Russia, according to McDonald’s.
Mr Kempczinski stated that the decision was made within the last week. The decision will affect hundreds of suppliers as well as the millions of customers McDonald’s serves every day in Russia.
The fast food company has joined a growing list of western companies who have severed connections with Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Coca-Cola announced on Tuesday that it would cease operations in Russia, which accounted for about 2% of the company’s operating sales and income. It also owns around 20% of the company.
Starbucks also declared that it would suspend all operations in the nation, including product shipments.
More than 100 locations operated by the coffee chain’s licensee in the nation will be temporarily closed. Starbucks said the licensee, Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, will continue to pay its roughly 2,000 employees.
Backlash is intensifying.
On Tuesday, other prominent worldwide firms joined the reaction, including Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, which announced it was halting all activities in Russia and closing its headquarters there.
“We call for an immediate end to the violence in Ukraine,” the corporation said in a statement to Bazzup.
Unilever, the maker of Marmite, Dove cosmetic products, and PG Tips, among other trademarks, announced it has ceased commerce with Russia and planned to stop spending and investing in advertising and media there.
It stated that it would continue to supply Russian-made “daily necessary food and hygiene products.”
L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics firm, is also closing its Russian stores and concessions and suspending online sales.
However, other companies, such as Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing, have defended their plans to continue operating in Russia, claiming that “clothing is a requirement of life” in an interview with Japan’s Nikkei newspaper.
Pepsi, which has a much larger presence in Russia than rival Coca-Cola, announced that production and sales of Pepsi and other global brands, as well as capital investments and advertising, would be halted in Russia due to “horrific events” in Ukraine.
However, the business said it would continue to offer other products in Russia, where it began operations during the Cold War and today employs 20,000 people.
“Now, more than ever, as a food and beverage company, we must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business,” Ramon Laguarta said. “This means we must continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily necessities like milk and other dairy products, as well as baby formula and baby food.”