Global life sciences company Bayer has suspended all "non-essential" business in Russia and Belarus as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The company said in a statement that it "utterly condemned this brutal aggression against a sovereign country".

The company statement continued: "Thousands have been killed or wounded, millions are fleeing the country, and the humanitarian situation of those who stay is deteriorating by the hour. We stand by the people of Ukraine who can fully count on our solidarity and support."

Actions by Bayer

Bayer said that it continued to prioritise the safety of 700 colleagues in Ukraine and will continue to provide them and their families with financial aid, shelter, and evacuation assistance.

In response to the humanitarian crisis, Bayer said it has established a €3 million 'Disaster Relief Fund' and provided both monetary assistance and donations of health products like antibiotics to help up to 27,000 Ukrainian patients.

"Our employees continue to respond generously - donating more than €900,000 so far through a Red Cross relief campaign, which the company will be matching," the statement added.

Bayer staff have also set up a platform where employees can offer housing to colleagues from Ukraine and their families who may need temporary shelter while country organisations and employee-led initiatives are organising local volunteering campaigns.

"Our seeds and agricultural inputs stand ready for the planting season for farmers in Ukraine and we hope that the Ukrainian farmers will be able to secure the 2022 harvest," the company added.

"We are prepared to support them as the window for planting is closing in only a few weeks."

Suspending business in Russia and Belarus

As a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bayer stopped all spending in Russia and Belarus that is not related to supplying essential products in health and agriculture.

This includes:

  • Suspending all advertising and other promotional activities;
  • Halting capital investment projects indefinitely;
  • Not pursuing any new business opportunities.

Bay said that it has also heard voices calling for a complete stop of delivery of all its products to Russia and Belarus.

"Our position is that this senseless war has already taken many lives. As a Life Science company, we have an ethical obligation – in every country we operate in," the company stated.

"Withholding essential health and agriculture products from the civilian populations – like cancer or cardiovascular treatments, health products for pregnant women and children as well as seeds to grow food – would only multiply the war’s ongoing toll on human life."

In a recent statement on the invasion of Ukraine, the G7 agricultural ministers made clear that any increase in food price levels and volatility in international markets could threaten food security and nutrition at a global scale and would especially affecting the most vulnerable.

"By supplying farmers around the globe, we want to support protecting food supply chains from further disruption and help to prevent what could be an unprecedented food crisis," the Bayer statement continued.

2022 growing season

For the 2022 growing season, Bayer said that it has already provided essential agricultural inputs to farmers in Russia to alleviate additional pressure on the global food system.

"Nevertheless, we will closely monitor the political situation and decide about supplies for 2023 and beyond at a later stage, depending on Russia stopping its unprovoked attacks on Ukraine and returning to a path of international diplomacy and peace," the company has stated.

Bayer said it will continue to monitor developments and evolve or adjust its response as necessary.