Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash

Skittles, M&Ms, Papa Johns And Russia, Imperfect Together

Twix bars, I love you, 3 Musketeers, I love you and M&M’s, god I love you, too, but you will nevermore touch my lips until Russia ends its obscene invasion of Ukraine. And Papa Johns, you will not get another penny from me for your pizza and I am quitting my Philip Morris-made Marlboros in favor of rolling my own.
I know it’s just a small gesture but maybe if enough people boycott Milky Ways, Skittles, Life Savers and all of the rest of the multinational Mars Company’s products, it will nudge the Mars family to back off investments in Russia. And maybe if Papa Johns and Philip Morris feel the heat of angry consumers, they also will leave Russia. Or not.
Mars sells $40 billion of its product annually and has more than $2 billion invested in Russia. That is a lot of M&Ms for the Hackettstown-based company that is the sixth largest privately held company in the U.S. and has 130,000 employees.
It’s the same story for a lot of giant multinationals that make billions off Russia. Certainly, some major companies have looked at the numbers and stuck out a corporate thumb to test the wind, like McDonald’s, which contrary to its fast food reputation, took a while to decided to temporarily close its 850 Russian restaurants. Starbucks also held out, before closing its 112 stores in Russia, Coca-Cola is suspending its operations and PepsiCo is pulling some products from the country.
Yale University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team have created a spreadheet that tracks companies that have bolted from Russia and those that have not. In addition to McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Starbucks, some of the bigger firms that have quit doing business with Russia include Adidas, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, American Airlines, Anheuser Busch, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bloomberg, Boohoo Group (British online fashion retailer), Chanel, Coca Cola, Disney, Harley Davidson, Ikea, Netflix, Pepsi, Prada, Uber, Yoox (Italian on-line fashion retailer), Yum brands (operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) along with the Women’s Tennis Association, International Tennis Federation, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, International Ice Hockey Federation, and of course, The International Cat Federation. Energy giant Shell also has agreed to phase out all involvement with Russia’s country’s oil and gas industry, which accounts for about a 10th of global oil supply.
It’s relatively painless and simple to boycott some companies to pressure them to take the moral and ethical decision. You can cut back on Big Macs, lay off the Frappuccinos, start drinking Dr. Pepper or get rid of your Snickers bars. But it’s maddeningly complicated and next to impossible to understand, let alone, boycott many other companies that continue profiting in Russia.
Sonnenfeld reported 34 major firms that continue to make money in Russia, while Russian bombs are killing civilians in Ukraine. Among them are Abbott Labs, AbbVie, Accor, Citi, Hilton, Hyatt, Mars, Nestle, Papa Johns, Philip Morris, Timken, Bridestone/Firestone, Caterpillar, Arconic, Mondelez, Nestle, Grupo Bimbo, Whirlpool, Deere and AmerisourceBergen.
If some of these names escape you, here’s a bit about them and their relationships with Russia.
* The Timken Company is a global manufacturer of bearings and power transmission products. It operates in 42 countries and has a net annual income of $292.4 million. Timken is partners in a joint venture with United Wagon Co. in Russia, Russia’s leading and one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of freight cars.
* As of 2021, Bridgestone/Firestone, based in Japan, was the largest manufacturer of tires in the world, followed by Michelin in France, Goodyear in the United States, MRF in India, Continental in Germany and Pirelli in Italy. Bridgestone Group has 181 production facilities in 24 countries and as of July 2018 reported a net income of $265.55B. Bridgetstone Tire did not disclose details about its manufacturing plants in Russia.
* Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction-equipment manufacturer, reported that 8 percent of its annual revenues comes from Russia, totaling $4 billion. The company designs, develops, engineers, manufactures, markets, and sells machinery, engines, financial products, and insurance to customers around the world. The company also licenses and markets a line of clothing and workwear boots under its Cat / Caterpillar name; its Cat phone brand of toughened mobile phones and smartphones.
* AbbVie is an American publicly traded biopharmaceutical company that was spun off of Abbott Laboratories. The company would not disclose its Russian revenues. One of its most profitable drugs is Humira, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, and other autoimmune diseases. An annual supply of Humira costs around $77,000 and another of its drugs, Imbruvica, is used to treat mantle cell lymphoma and a patient’s required four pills a day cost $242,039, every day. AbbVie reported a net annual income of $11.542 billion and has 47,000 employees worldwide.
* Abbott Laboratories, which also declined to report its Russian revenues, is a multinational medical devices and health care company with such well-known products as Pedialyte, Similac, Ensure, Glucerna, ZonePerfect, FreeStyle Libre, i-STAT and MitraClip. The company has a net annual income of $4.495 billion and employs 109,000 people.
* The French-based, Accor S.A., is the largest hospitality company in Europe, and the sixth largest worldwide, operating in 5,199 locations in more than 100 countries. It has 55 locations in Russia and a company-wide, net annual income of $1.988 billion with 260,000 employees.
* Citibank is the consumer division of financial services, multinational Citigroup. Citibank has 2,649 branches in 19 countries, including 723 branches in the United States. The company reported $9.8 billion in net financial earnings in Russia.
* Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a global brand of full-service hotels and resorts and the flagship brand of American multinational hospitality company Hilton. As of Dec. 2019, there were 584 Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties with 216,379 rooms in 94 countries and territories across six continents, including 29 locations in Russia.
* Hyatt Hotels Corporation manages and franchises luxury and business hotels, resorts and vacation properties. Hyatt has more than 1,100 hotels and properties in 69 countries across six continents, including six hotels in Russia and reported a company-wide annual net income of $766 million.
* Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, reported that it earned $1.5 billion or 2.3 percent of its revenues from Russia. The Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate makes baby food, medical food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. The company’s net annual income was $12.23 billion and the firm employs 273,000 people at 447 factories, in 189 countries, and is a major shareholder in L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company.
* Papa John’s International, Inc., is the fourth largest pizza delivery restaurant chain in the United States, with 185 locations in Russia. The company reported a net annual income of $1.81 billion and 5,400 employees.
* Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is a Swiss-American multinational cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company, with products sold in more than 180 countries. A total of 8 percent of Philip Morris revenues, $2.6 billion, were from Russia. The company which sells Marlboro and many other brands, reported a net annual income of $8.056 billion
* Grupo Bimbo also refused to disclose its financial involvement in Russia. The Mexican multinational company is in more than 33 countries and has an annual sales volume of $15 billion and 134,000 employees. The company has more than 100 brands like Bimbo, Tía Rosa, Ricolino, Entenmann’s, Pullman, Rainbo, Nutrella, Marinela, Oroweat, Sara Lee, Thomas’, Arnold and Barcel.
* Arconic Corporation is an American industrial company specializing in lightweight metals for aerospace, automotive, commercial transportation, packaging, building and construction, oil and gas, defense, consumer electronics, and industrial applications. The company reported a net annual income of $108 million and reported receiving 9.4 percent of its revenues, $535 million, from Russia.
* Bunge Limited is an American agribusiness and food company and international soybean exporter, and also is involved in food processing, grain trading, and fertilizer. The company has around 32,000 employees in 40 countries and reported that 2.6 percent of its revenues, $1.5 billion, were from Russia.
* Mondelez International, Inc., formerly Kraft Foods, is an American multinational confectionery, food, holding and beverage and snack food company with an annual revenue of about $26 billion, including 3.5 percent of its revenues, $1 billion, from Russia. The company had a net annual income of $3.86 billion, operating in around 160 countries. Mondelez International, based in Canada, makes Belvita, Chips Ahoy!, Oreo, Ritz, TUC, Triscuit, LU, Club Social, Sour Patch Kids, Barny, and Peek Freans; chocolate brands Milka, Côte d’Or, Toblerone, Cadbury, Green & Black’s, Freia, Marabou, Fry’s, and Lacta; gum and cough drop brands Trident, Dentyne, Chiclets, Halls, and Stride; as well as Tate’s Bake Shop cookies and powdered beverage brand Tang. The company has 80,000 employees.
* John Deere manufactures agricultural machinery, heavy equipment, forestry machinery, diesel engines, drive trains (axles, transmissions, gearboxes) used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment and also provides financial services and other related activities. The company’s annual net income was $2.75 billion but the company would not disclose its finances in Russia.
* The Whirlpool Corporation manufactures home appliances, and reported annual revenues of around $21 billion, with 78,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. Among Whirlpool brands are Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana, Gladiator GarageWorks, Inglis, Estate, Brastemp, Bauknecht, Hotpoint, Ignis, Indesit, and Consul. The company did not disclose the extent of its involvement in Russia.
* AmerisourceBergen Corporation, an American drug wholesale company, handles about 20 percent of all of the pharmaceuticals sold and distributed throughout the United States. The company has research depots in Russia but would not give further details.
The company, formed by the merger of Bergen Brunswig and AmeriSource in 2001, distributes a line of brand name and generic pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter (OTC) health care products and home health care supplies and equipment to health care providers throughout the United States, including acute care hospitals and health systems, independent and chain retail pharmacies, mail-order facilities, physicians, clinics and other alternate site facilities, as well as nursing and assisted living centers. They also provide pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services to long-term care, workers’ compensation and specialty drug patients.



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