RACINE, Wisc. — S.C. Johnson & Son is defending its decision to remain in Russia after receiving a grade "F" from a Yale Universiy professor tracking American businesses staying there during the Ukraine war.
According to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal, the Racine-based company is continuing manufacturing toilet-bowl cleaner, glass cleaner and air freshener in Russia. A company spokesman said the company's main focus is the well-being of its 200 Russian employees.
The company said it is making no new investments in its Russian operations and has suspended all advertising, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.
At the same time, S.C. Johnson suspended operations in Kyiv, Ukraine, where the company has 130 employees. The company said it is providing financial assistance to Ukrainian employees, some of whom are fleeing the country, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Senior associate dean at the Yale School Management, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, has compiled an updated a list of American companies in Russia and rating the status of their operations. Over 45 companies announced withdrawing from Russia, but about 30 are "digging in" and staying. That includes S.C. Johnson, according to Sonnenfeld.
Sonnenfeld's five categories are rated "A" through "F" and S.C. Johnson falls to the lowest. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the "failing" group defies demands by employees, customers and investors to exit or reduce activities in Russia. Sonnenfeld cites the JS.C. Johnson running a plant in Chudovo, Russia, and selling products in Russia.
The company has been in Russia for 27 years and manufactures Duck toilet-bowl cleaner, Mr. Muscle glass cleaner, and Glade air freshener there.
“In Russia we feel we have an obligation to our 200 colleagues there to support themselves and function during this difficult time,” VanderMolen told the Milwaukee Business Journal Wednesday. “We believe it’s our responsibility not to turn our back on our colleagues at a very tragically difficult time.”
VanderMolen said the company is complying with all sanctions and laws.
“There’s nothing preventing us from staying operational — that’s why we’re staying there,” he said. “These decisions are not about any financial result, but rather the well-being of S.C. Johnson people."
The Milwaukee Business Journal reports S.C. Johnson is pointing to the professor's ratings inconsistencies. An example being some companies received a "D" grade despite taking the same position on continuing business in Russia while ending advertising.
S.C. Johnson has run an operation in Ukraine since 1990.
“S.C. Johnson is deeply saddened and disturbed by the invasion of Ukraine,” the company said. “We hope for a peaceful resolution to this crisis as soon as possible.”
The company has donated $500,000 to Save the Children for children and families impacted and is matching every $1donated b S.C. Johnson employees to Save the Children.