Va. companies aid Ukraine, pull business from Russia
Mars, Hilton and CMA CGM Group among those taking action
McLean-based Mars Inc. and other companies with major Virginia presences are responding to the war between Russia and Ukraine, chiefly by helping employees who live in the Eastern European nation and sending other humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as suspending business dealings in Russia, a measure taken by many U.S. companies in recent days.
Mars, one of the world’s largest candy and pet food manufacturers, has donated $1.5 million to provide basic needs for children and families trying to leave Ukraine and seek refuge in border countries, working with Save the Children, a humanitarian aid organization operating in Ukraine. Additionally, Mars gave $500,000 to Humane Society International to assist pets and owners.
The company also stopped all social media activity and suspended advertising in Russia and Belarus, which is closely aligned with Russia through several bilateral treaties. Mars has suspended new investments in Russia, according to a company statement.
“We join the world in supporting the innocent victims of this war and calling for a peaceful resolution immediately,” CEO Grant F. Reid said in a statement.
Ashburn-based DXC Technology Co., an IT services company that is one of the state’s largest publicly traded corporations, also condemned the “unwanted aggression from the Russian government” in a statement.
The company is working to provide shelter, financial assistance, health care and relocation support to employees and their families in Ukraine. DXC said it has about 4,000 employees in Russia whom the company is supporting, and the firm is matching employee donations to Red Cross humanitarian efforts at 200%.
DXC is no longer pursuing business in Russia and has committed to exit that market, according to a statement. The company says it’s also supporting and maintaining compliance with sanctions levied against Russia.
McLean-based Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. said it has closed its corporate office in Moscow and will ensure continued work and pay for impacted team members. The hotel conglomerate said it has taken steps to protect its employees and guests.
Hilton is donating up to 1 million room nights to support Ukrainian refugees and humanitarian efforts across Europe in partnership with American Express. All new development activity by Hilton in Russia has been suspended, and profits from its business operations in Russia will be donated to humanitarian relief in Ukraine, according to a company statement. The Hilton Effect Foundation has given $50,000 to World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization that provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises, and Project Hope, an international health care organization.
Amazon.com Inc., which is building its HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington, donated $5 million to organizations providing support on the ground in Ukraine, including UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Program, Red Cross, Polska Akcja Humanitaria and Save the Children.
The e-commerce giant also is matching employee donations up to $5 million and giving customers the option to donate from its website. More than 10,000 employees have contributed, the company reported.
Meanwhile, Amazon employees in Poland, which has seen an influx of refugees, will get additional time off, and the company is working with Ukrainian nationals to expedite immigration work visas if they have left the country.
Amazon Web Services, which has a significant presence in Northern Virginia, also is doing work on the cybersecurity front. AWS is working with Ukrainian customers and partners to keep applications secure, as well as assisting Ukrainian IT organizations to fend off cyberattacks from Russia. AWS has no data centers, infrastructure or offices in Russia and maintains a longstanding policy of not doing business with the Russian government, according to a company statement, and is not accepting new accounts for AWS from customers in Russia and Belarus.
Amazon also has suspended shipment of retail products to customers in Russia and Belarus and will not accept Amazon third-party sellers there. Access to Prime Video is suspended for customers in Russia and the company won’t take orders for video games sold directly in Russia.
CMA CGM Group, the international shipping and logistics company with its North American base in Norfolk, says it has taken necessary measures to protect its employees in Ukraine, allowing them to work from home since last month. All bookings to and from Russia were suspended March 1, extending to Belarus on March 4, until further notice. Special conditions for cargo en route to and from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia also have been implemented. Those include a full waiver of cancellation fees for booking and change of destination at no cost. Additionally, the company has raised alert levels and taken preventative measures to protect its IT systems from cyberattacks.
On Feb. 24, Russia attacked Ukraine in an attempt to gain control of the former Soviet nation, and since then, the United States has responded by imposing economic sanctions. Businesses worldwide have joined the exodus out of Russia, in addition to other measures. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has also urged economic steps against Russia to support Ukraine.
Virginia Business Associate Editor Courtney Mabeus contributed to this story.