• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

The Russian invasion of Ukraine: Business “economic sanctions" can also be devastating

March 6th, 2022



Our message from last Sunday was a clear challenge to the corporate world to react and stand a position in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is beyond imagination what this reaction has been this week – simply amazing, with so many corporations coming forward making clear where they stand in this conflict. I can not remember any other situation where so many companies, from so many industries and so many geographies, came together to “express” the same views and condemnation. A clear awareness that "business economic sanctions" can also be devastating.

With the obvious risk of missing so many companies, here is a list of links identifying companies' reactions this week:

  • Two extensive list of companies cutting ties with Russia: here and here.

  • Oil companies cutting ties with Russia: bp and Shell

  • Consumer good companies such as Nike, Apple, and IKEA halting product sales in Russia

  • Sports organizations are also taking action

  • Walt Disney pausing its release of theatrical films in Russia

  • Consulting firms response

One can always argue whether some have gone too far or too little too late – but I do not think this is the moment for that debate. This corporate response highlights something very relevant: one of the most significant barriers to the implementation of "Responsible Business" is the eternal management conflict between the short and long term, and this is currently being genuinely tested.

This debate sheds new and significant light in times of crisis, exacerbated by a pandemic and a military invasion. These are the moments when the corporate world must reflect on that dilemma short vs long term performance - and this reflection is certainly happening in many Board rooms “as we speak”.

This is not the time for hypocrisy and embarks on cynical judgments: the truth of the matter, at this point in time, is that the great part of the business world is in fact favoring the long term over the short. The overwhelming decisions we have seen this week directly and negatively affect the bottom line of companies and the short-term value for shareholders. Chapeau for most corporate decisions we have all witnessed this week!

Nuno Moreira da Cruz Executive Director Center for Responsible Business and Leadership



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