War in Ukraine: these Swiss companies that continue their business in Russia

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A list identifies companies that still trade with Putin’s country. Many Swiss companies are listed.

Posters denouncing Nestle’s dealings with Russia were withheld during an anti-invasion demonstration in Bern last March.

AFP

Faced with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Switzerland emerged from its historical neutrality. After the sanctions imposed by the European Union, the Federal Council initially decided to freeze the assets in Switzerland of Russian personalities and companies. A fortune currently valued at more than 7.5 billion francs.

In mid-April and after the discovery of atrocities committed by the Russian army in Boutcha, Switzerland tightened its policy even further. Adopting a new package of European sanctions, the government announced a ban on the import of various Russian products and on the export of kerosene and “others that may contribute to the strengthening of Russia’s industrial capabilities”.

But while European countries may go even further in the coming days by boycotting Russian oil and gas, companies continue to do business with Russia. And among them are several Swiss companies.

“As if nothing had happened”

The prestigious American University of Yale in Connecticut has compiled a list of companies with interests in Russia. The latter consists of five categories with an academic grading system ranging from A to F. Companies are rated according to the state of their trade relations with Russia.

In the category of bad students (F), those “who continue their activities in Russia as if nothing had happened”, there are six Swiss organizations. The company Ems-Chemie, which belongs to UDC Magdalena Martullo-Blocher and which still operates in Russia, figures prominently there. The company had already caused controversy in early April by banning the word “war” from its employees in favor of the “Ukrainian conflict”.

Aargau-based underwear maker Triumph also receives an F as a company that still operates in Russia and is “still actively recruiting” there. Tool and machine manufacturer Liebherr, inspection and testing company SGS, building materials producer Sika and wood materials manufacturer Swiss Krono round out this category.

deferred investments

Yale University assigns a D grade to companies that have decided to delay investments or other developments in Russia “while continuing their substantial activities there.” Here, in particular, we find the Swiss food industry giant Nestlé, which has announced that it will reduce its transactions with Russia to basic necessities.

Also getting a D are Swiss pharmaceutical companies Novartis, Roche and Alcon, private bank Julius Baer, ​​commodity ogre Glencore, chocolatier Barry Callebaut and baby food producer HiPP.

“Open return options”

This is followed by the category of companies “that reduce some significant business operations but continue others” and that receive a C. This includes banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse, engineering leader ABB, construction companies. mechanical industry Bucher Industries and Georg Fisher as well as the cosmetics group Oriflame.

Logitech, Swatch and chocolate maker Lindt-Sprungli all receive a B grade as the companies “temporarily scale back most or almost all of their Russian operations while keeping return options open.” Also on the list are luxury industry group Richemont, sanitary installations group Geberit, travel agency GetYourGuide and architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. Note that organizations such as CERN, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and the International Canoeing Federation receive the same ranking.

Companies that “completely stop Russian engagements or leave Russia altogether” receive an A from Yale University. This category includes Coop, FIFA, Holcim, Rolex, Acronis, Dentons, Luxoft and the Kühne + Nagel group. The section is complemented by organizations such as UEFA, the IOC, as well as the International Ice Hockey, Skating and Weightlifting Federations.

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