Pernod Ricard bows to pressure by backtracking on Russia recommencement

Pernod Ricard has cancelled its plan to restart the supply of drink products to Russia after facing public pressure and an ensuing PR disaster.

The Moral Rating Agency (MRA) – a firm set up to expose corporations through moral ratings – branded the recommencement as a ‘disgusting’ move that swam ‘against the moral tide’.

While the second largest drinks company in the world has backtracked on its controversial decision, the move will take ‘some months’ to finalise and will see the company continue to pay its Russian staff so that it is positioned for recommencing operations in the future as and when it decides.

MRA founder Mark Dixon has today warned that Pernod Ricard’s climbdown in the face of a public outcry is a “lesson for other companies”, adding that “no one should be tempted to do the same.”

The agency has previously questioned what had changed that would allow Pernod Ricard to restart sales to Russia, given that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is continuing.

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“Pernod has made a pathetic commitment laced with caveats,” Dixon added.

“Since we attacked its plan to restart supplies, it has refused to give a concrete date for a pull-out and has said it may resume operations in the future. Since we don’t know when the trading will stop and when it might restart, the company is giving itself far too much wriggle room. We will be watching its actions closely to see that it does actually get out. ”

“Pernod originally claimed it needed to maintain a sufficient level of business in Russia because of a responsibility ‘to protect our local teams, their livelihoods, and the welfare of their families’ and in order ‘to avoid intentional bankruptcy, which is a criminal offence in Russia and represents a significant risk for our employees’. Following public outcry, the company has now changed its position, revealing that Pernod cares more about lost profits in the west than its employees in Russia. The company’s decision is simply about money.”


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