More than 1,200 multinational companies have curtailed or abandoned business ties with Russia in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to data assembled by the Yale School of Management. Its authoritative list of businesses, updated weekly, plays a key role in the praising and shaming of companies that have, or have not, taken political action in Russia.
Why does this matter? Beyond ethics, recent research shows that financial markets are rewarding companies for leaving Russia while punishing those that remain, with consumers taking a similar stance.
The countries with the most businesses still doing nothing
From a global perspective, China has the highest number of companies that, to this day, continue to do business as usual in Russia.
More specifically, there are 41 Chinese businesses in Russia, such as China Construction Bank, that have taken zero action in the country. This is followed by the US, with 29 companies, France with 25, Germany with 14 and India with 13.
However, this ignominious ranking does not account for the number of companies that have taken action from these countries. Therefore, if one recalculates the figures as a ratio, things look quite different, as the below charts show.
Which G20 nations have the most passive businesses in Russia?
Among the G20, the most politically and economically powerful group of countries in the world, businesses from Turkey, China and India have taken the least action in Russia, proportionally speaking.
Turkey performs the worst, with all five of its companies in Russia (such as Pegasus Airlines) still operating business as usual. Next is China, with 41 of the 51 Chinese companies in Russia taking absolutely no action. In third place is India, with 13 of the 22 Indian businesses in Russia remaining unmoved.
That said, Western countries also feature highly in this ranking, with Italy, France, Germany and the US standing out (in that order).
Which EU nations have the most passive businesses in Russia?
Brussels has been one of the most critical voices against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but some EU nations have not towed this party line.
It may come as no surprise, therefore, that Hungary is the EU nation that has seen its businesses withdraw from Russia the least – since Viktor Orban is, by far, the least critical EU leader towards Russia. Similarly, Serbia (albeit a non-EU country) has also seen very little business action since its leader, Aleksandar Vučić, is the most pro-Putin advocate on the European continent.
After Hungary, companies from Slovenia, Austria, France and Italy (in the order) have been the next slowest movers. This record will be remembered.
EU-based companies that are avoiding political action may believe they are taking economic advantage of the situation. However, as previously mentioned, the wrath of markets and consumers remains strong, especially in the West. Inaction is unlikely to pay off.