© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Plastic letters arranged to read “Sanctions” are placed in front of the colors of the Russian flag in this illustration taken on February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
(Reuters) – A responsible investment group representing $10 trillion in assets under management said it may be right for companies to cut trade ties with Russia in protest of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but urged leaders to be careful not to accidentally harm employees, Dissidents or consumers.
Companies should consider ending their trade deal with Russia if they cannot avoid contributing to human rights abuses, the New York-based Alliance of Human Rights Investors said in a statement released Thursday.
However, the statement on behalf of more than 200 global members said the divestment decision “must be reviewed for any unintended human rights consequences”.
Coalition officials say Western companies should do a thorough analysis when deciding whether to stay or leave, and take steps such as protecting workers from retaliation when they join anti-government protests. “Invasion”.
Rebecca Derwent-Schmidt, the coalition’s deputy director, said some companies, such as state-owned banks and energy companies, were clearly exiting partners. But, she said, “If you’re a company that produces milk primarily for the domestic market, if you think it’s too messy and you quit, that’s another story, and that could reduce the food supply.”
The statement showed the tensions faced by many U.S. and European businesses and investors as companies including Boeing (NYSE: ), BP (NYSE: ) and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund ended business relationships.
Western sanctions against Russia have increased since last week, including new export curbs announced on Wednesday.
Russia, which has described its actions in Ukraine as “special operations”, responded by raising interest rates and restricting asset sales by foreigners. Some Western companies took note of their concerns as workers quit.
For example, in a statement on Tuesday announcing its withdrawal from managing oil and gas facilities on Sakhalin, Exxon said it would manage the process carefully and “has an obligation to ensure the safety of people, protect the environment and the integrity of its operations.
An Exxon Mobil spokesman declined to comment further.