: PepsiCo and other U.S. companies accused of ‘moralwashing’ in statements about Russia

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Stock Market

A host of companies has been accused of making statements about Russia that “look better than their actions,” according to the Moral Rating Agency. The Moral Rating Agency has published a list of companies, both in the U.S. and overseas, that it accuses of “moralwashing,” or making confusing statements about their involvement with Russia. The 12 companies in “the communications hall of shame” include PepsiCo Inc.
Johnson & Johnson
Chevron Corp.
Procter & Gamble Co.
Dell Technologies Inc.
and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

To compile its latest report, the Moral Rating Agency analyzed the announcements of 112 companies that were involved in Russia at the time of the Ukraine invasion on Feb. 24. The agency classified “communications failure” into four categories: “confusing wording,” “wriggle-room wording,” “red herring” statements, and not disclosing one or more Russian activities properly, which the researchers describe as “corporate amnesia.” “The 12 worst offenders didn’t just fail to exit Russia properly,” said Moral Rating Agency founder Mark Dixon, in a statement. “They also frequently moralwashed their failures by saying one thing and doing another.” See: Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moral Rating Agency’s ‘Courage Index’ analyzes companies’ statements on Kremlin’s aggression “Continuing to work with Russia is immoral, but moralwashing it is ‘doubly immoral’,” he added. PepsiCo is at the top of the Moral Rating Agency’s list. Researchers accused the consumer giant of “confusing wording” on several points, “corporate amnesia” about its snack-production business in Russia and issuing a “red herring” statement. The agency pointed to a Reuters report last month that PepsiCo had stopped making Pepsi, 7Up and Mountain Dew in Russia nearly six months after the company said it would suspend sales and production in the country. Reuters reported that it had visited dozens of supermarkets, retailers and gyms in Moscow and other areas and found Pepsi cans and bottles printed with July and August production dates from factories in Russia. On March 8 PepsiCo published a letter sent by CEO Ramon Laguarta to employees via email. In the letter he announced the suspension of “the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia, including 7Up and Mirinda.” See: Kremlin could seize Russian assets of U.S. companies, warns Moral Rating Agency A spokesperson for PepsiCo referred MarketWatch to a recent statement from the company. “In line with the announcement we made in March 2022, we ceased the manufacture of relevant concentrates for Pepsi-Cola, Mirinda, 7Up and Mountain Dew in the Russian market and suspended capital investments, advertising and promotional activities in Russia,” the company said. “All concentrates have subsequently been exhausted in Russia and production has ended.” The Moral Rating Agency contends that PepsiCo used confusing wording in its statement released on March 8. “When using the word ‘sale’, the company’s initial statement didn’t specify that it was only suspending deliveries of concentrates, which the company only clarified when the continuing production and sales were exposed by Reuters,” it said, in its rese …

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