HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois — Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, a refugee crisis took hold in Europe. As of mid-September 2022, Europe has recorded more than 7 million displaced Ukrainian citizens, with the number steadily increasing, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR). As of September 13, 2022, the UNHCR has recorded more than 12 million border crossings from Ukraine since the start of the conflict. The escalation of the armed conflict in Ukraine calls for immediate and substantial support for Ukraine’s refugees and communities. Accordingly, PepsiCo, a U.S. multinational food, snack and beverage corporation, is donating millions to support programs in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic, in line with the company’s humanitarian goals. With an annual revenue of $79.474 billion in 2021 and increasing global net revenues, PepsiCo is well-positioned to provide significant support in times of crisis. PepsiCo supports Ukrainians in and outside of Ukraine, including the company’s own employees.
In response to the consequences of the Ukraine-Russian war, PepsiCo has pledged to provide close to $15 million in resources for Ukrainian refugees, PepsiCo’s associates and others affected by the crisis. PepsiCo’s extensive network of partnerships and position as the world’s leading food and beverage company highlight PepsiCo’s capacity to provide assistance amid a humanitarian crisis. By working with partners such as the World Food Programme, World Central Kitchen, the UNHCR, Save the Children and World Vision, PepsiCo is able to provide extensive support to Ukrainians. PepsiCo apportioned $6 million to its partners operating in and around Ukraine. Efforts strive to ensure job stability, zero hunger and infrastructure support for refugees, among other aims.
Refugee Crisis: Looking at the Numbers
The human toll of the crisis and destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine compels civilians to flee outside Ukrainian borders to seek safety and refuge in other countries, especially neighboring countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Moldova. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports that, as of August 15, 2022, Ukraine has noted more than 5,500 civilian deaths and more than 7,600 injuries to citizens.
By August 2, 2022, the invasion had caused $108.3 billion in damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure. The destruction includes “105,200 cars, 43,700 agricultural machines, 764 kindergartens, 1,991 shops and 634 cultural facilities,” according to Forbes. The cost of damage to transportation networks equaled $31.6 billion. Furthermore, Ukraine’s defense ministry estimated the invasion has pushed 3.5 million Ukrainians into homelessness. Currently, Poland is hosting more than 1.3 million Ukrainian refugees while Romania hosts more than 29,000 and the Czech Republic hosts more than 431,000.
How Pepsico Supports Ukrainians
At the onset of the conflict, more than 3,100 PepsiCo associates resided in Ukraine. About 50% of these employees sheltered within their houses while about 30% migrated within the country, notably from Kyiv toward Western Ukraine or the Polish border. PepsiCo has supported those who remained in Ukraine by providing financial assistance and accommodations. For instance, in the first two months after the start of the invasion, around 150 individuals and families used PepsiCo’s warehouse in Lviv as a place of refuge.
PepsiCo opened a small school in Bucharest, Romania, in April 2022, giving 150 Ukrainian children of PepsiCo associates a place to continue their schooling. Former Ukrainian, Sashko Morokhovskyi, a supply chain director for PepsiCo in Romania, spearheaded the initiative along with many other efforts to provide aid to Ukrainians. Morokhovskyi and his team, by establishing the learning center, aimed to “offer a sense of normalcy” for these children, ages 3-17, and PepsiCo contributed $360,000 in financial support to make the project a reality.
Additionally, PepsiCo supports Ukrainians by providing aid to refugees in neighboring countries through donations of almost $1.6 million worth of “food, drink and equipment” plus more than 2,000 tons of potatoes, worth $560,000, to its humanitarian aid partners.
Further, PepsiCo supported 1,200 agricultural jobs by buying Ukrainian farmers’ potato and dairy products. PepsiCo also “organized a supply chain” to more easily manage and navigate the movement of essential products from Poland to Ukraine.
PepsiCo, the largest food and beverage company in North America, is working to address the impacts of the Russian-Ukraine war by providing nutriment, accommodations and supplies directly to those facing the impacts of the conflict and to philanthropic partners. The company’s resources continue to provide support to Ukrainians while the conflict continues.
– Anna Zawistowski