If Western companies are serious about adhering to good Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance, they should pull all of their investments out of Russia.
That’s the opinion of Dr. Fiona Hill, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a former official at the U.S. National Security Council, specializing in Russian and European affairs.
Hill was interviewed by Maura Reynolds, Senior Editor at Politico magazine, the full link to which is at the bottom of this article.
Here’s an excerpt where Hill lays out the reasons why western sanctions are not enough to hinder Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long-term intentions in Ukraine, and why western companies have to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to ESG.
Maura Reynolds: I gather you think that sanctions levelled by the government are inadequate to address this much larger threat?
Fiona Hill: Absolutely. Sanctions are not going to be enough.
You need to have a major international response, where governments decide on their own accord that they can’t do business with Russia for a period of time until this is resolved.
Just as we wouldn’t be having a full-blown diplomatic negotiation for anything but a ceasefire and withdrawal while Ukraine is still being actively invaded, so it’s the same thing with business.
Right now you’re fuelling the invasion of Ukraine. So what we need is a suspension of business activity with Russia until Moscow ceases hostilities and withdraws its troops.
So ordinary companies…
Hill: Ordinary companies should make a decision.
This is the epitome of “ESG” that companies are saying is their priority right now — upholding standards of good Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance.
Just like people didn’t want their money invested in South Africa during apartheid, do you really want to have your money invested in Russia during Russia’s brutal invasion and subjugation and carving up of Ukraine?
If Western companies, their pension plans or mutual funds, are invested in Russia they should pull out.
Any people who are sitting on the boards of major Russian companies should resign immediately.
Not every Russian company is tied to the Kremlin, but many major Russian companies absolutely are, and everyone knows it.
If we look back to Germany in the run-up to the Second World War, it was the major German enterprises that were being used in support of the war.
And we’re seeing exactly the same thing now. Russia would not be able to afford this war were it not for the fact that oil and gas prices are ratcheting up.
They’ve got enough in the war chest for now.
But over the longer term, this will not be sustainable without the investment that comes into Russia and all of the Russian commodities, not just oil and gas, that are being purchased on world markets.
And, our international allies, like Saudi Arabia, should be increasing oil production right now as a temporary offset. Right now, they are also indirectly funding war in Ukraine by keeping oil prices high.
This has to be an international response to push Russia to stop its military action.
India abstained in the United Nations, and you can see that other countries are feeling discomforted and hoping this might go away.
This is not going to go away, and it could be “you next” — because Putin is setting a precedent for countries to return to the type of behaviour that sparked the two great wars which were a free-for-all over territory.
Putin is saying, “Throughout history borders have changed. Who cares?”
Click here for the full interview.
A list of major companies and the actions they have taken against Russia.