In a statement released on 10 March, the company said, "Mars has operated in Russia for over 30 years, and we employ almost 6,000 associates who have been a vital part of our company for decades. We will continue to support them, but business as usual is not an option. This is a humanitarian crisis, and this guides all our actions.
"We have decided to scale back our business and will refocus our efforts in Russia on our essential role in feeding the Russian people and pets. Any profits from our Russian business will be used for humanitarian causes. We have suspended new investments in Russia and will not import or export our products in or out of Russia. Our social media and advertising activity in Russia and Belarus will remain suspended."
The American multinational manufacturer has committed $12m in cash and in-kind donations to humanitarian causes assisting people and pets affected by the war in Ukraine. "Teams of Mars associates are working tirelessly to help associates who are still in Ukraine, as well as those who make it across the borders," the company added.
An email from CEO Dirk Van de Put to employees said, "As a food company, we are scaling back all non-essential activities in Russia while helping maintain continuity of the food supply during the challenging times ahead. We will also continue to support our colleagues in the market who are facing great uncertainty. We will focus our operation on basic offerings, discontinue all new capital investments and suspend our advertising media spending."
Van de Put added, "We continue to prioritise the safety of our people and our operations remain closed in Ukraine. The outpouring of care for our Ukrainian colleagues has been so heartwarming and we’re continuing to provide strong financial support, border-crossing assistance and help with finding safe shelter, including in our facilities in neighboring countries."
He announced that the snack food company is stepping up its humanitarian efforts with a "multi-million-dollar commitment", including cash donations to Save The Children and other aid organisations, extension of the company's employee double-match programme with International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), and in-kind donations to various humanitarian organisations in the region.
A spokesperson said: “As a food company and employer, we also have a responsibility toward the people in Russia and our more than 7,000 employees – most of whom are locals. We will continue to ensure a reliable supply of safe and essential food products to the local people in the country. Our diverse range of essential food products includes baby food and breakfast cereals. We have consistently stayed the course – also during difficult times – to serve the local people who need it the most."
Schneider also announced that the Swiss multinational is contributing towards donations to aid organisations in the region that are providing relief in the form of food, shelter, medical supplies, and other essential goods.