Avon, a popular American-British cosmetics brand is being heavily criticized for continuing to recruit sales representatives in Russia despite earlier claims of discontinuing the same.
BBC has brought the incident to light affirming that the multinational company is also running production at the Naro-Fominsk plant in Moscow.
With the commencement of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, the beauty brand had vowed to discontinue investments in Russia as well as terminate the exports from the country to other nations, including Ukraine. The parent company, Natura & Co, had further stated its decision to preserve the local operations so as to aid the existing sales agents. However, the BBC reported on Saturday, January 28, that it has uncovered that the recruitment process of Avon is still active, welcoming new employees onboard, offering them “prizes, cash bonuses and even holidays for hitting targets.”
“After registering online, the BBC received a welcome email with the chance to begin an “Easy Start” sales programme and contact details for a local co-ordinator,” stated the British broadcaster.
Avon’s Unsatisfactory Justification
The 137-year-old company first launched its business in Russia roughly 30 years ago, in the 1990s, and is a “key market” for the beauty line. The company’s Russian website claims to be the leading perfume brand of the nation.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the firm revealed, “Avon Russia supports women in Russia through locally funded activities to support their social selling businesses. “We see this as critical support for women whose livelihoods depend on their Avon business.”
However, experts have slammed the brand for justifying their actions. “There is no excuse for continuing to fund Putin’s war machine… and [there] has been more than enough time to allow for companies to exit in an orderly way,” said Steven Tian, a researcher at Yale University, who is part of a team that is carrying out detailed surveys to assess the actions taken by companies worldwide in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Although the firm has fulfilled its commitment towards shifting the production base for Eastern Europe from Russia to Poland, continuing business operations in the country has drawn significant flak.
Mark Dixon, founder of Moral Rating Agency which is directed towards discouraging partnerships between western companies and Russia, condemned Avon’s business choices while also calling out the hypocrisy of the parent company, Brazilian firm, Natura & Co for voicing concern for Ukrainians on its website.
As of the war between the two nations, tensions continue to remain high. In a recent escalation of events, Russia accused Ukraine of shooting down a military plane carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. In October of last year, the Putin-led nation pulled out of the Nuclear Peace Treaty further straining its relations with the West. The country was also re accused of spreading misinformation and propaganda through TikTok by the BBC in Decemebr of 2023.