Avon ignores calls to retreat, resumes sales in Russia despite 'shame list' inclusion
Avon, a 137-year-old company, is primarily known for its direct sales. These are conducted by sales representatives who demonstrate cosmetics, perfumes, and creams to prospective customers. In recent years, however, the company has reverted to in-store and online sales. Avon relocated its headquarters from New York to London in 2016.
Avon continues operations in Russia despite previous promise to limit activities
As the BBC recalls, Avon suspended investments in Russia and halted exports of its cosmetic products from Russia to other markets, including Ukraine, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Avon's parent company, the Brazilian firm Natura & Co, stressed that local operations to support its sales agents, who rely on its functions, are still ongoing.
"The company understands that restricting product access could severely impact local women and children," explained Avon's parent company.
Regardless, the British public television discovered that new sales representative recruits can still register for the company in Russia. These recruits can anticipate subsequent rewards, cash bonuses, and even holidays for accomplishing set targets. After signing up online, BBC correspondents received a welcome email from the company's "Easy Start" sales program, including contact details of a local coordinator.
Avon has been in the Russian market for 30 years
Avon's activities in Russia commenced 30 years ago. To commemorate their anniversary, Avon Russia released a video on Youtube, highlighting award ceremonies, social media management training, sales enhancement techniques, and international trips awarded to their top sales persons.
A 'shame list' is maintained by Yale University researchers, listing companies that continue to operate in Russia. This prompted the BBC to ask Steven Tiana, a member of the research team, to evaluate Avon's dealings. He expressed a clear declaration that the corporation should be "ashamed".
"There is no justification for further bankrolling Putin's war machinery. There has been ample time for companies to execute a orderly retreat" - evaluated Steven Tian.
Cosmetic production soars in Russia
The broadcast also reminds viewers that Avon launched a factory in the Naro-Fominsk city of Moscow Oblast in 2004. This factory produces over 220 varieties of cosmetics and fragrances. Over 2.5 billion units of these products have been crafted there.
Nevertheless, Avon assured the BBC that the Naro-Fominsk factory only caters to the Russian market. As the war in Ukraine commenced, the company informed Interfax of its intention to transition its manufacturing services from the factory at Naro-Fominsk to Eastern Europe, specifically Poland. BBC points out that this promise seems to have been fulfilled.
However, the broadcaster highlights that in late October 2023, when its contact placed an order with Avon in Russia, three out of four products received were manufactured at the Naro-Fominsk plant and one in Poland.