Two Utah-based essential oil providers were named in a recent Yale report listing companies still operating in Russia despite the brutal invasion of Ukraine that has rendered thousands dead and 10 million displaced.
DoTerra received an “F” grade in the report, among 38 companies “that are just continuing business-as-usual in Russia.”
And Young Living received a “D” grade for “postponing future planned investment/development/marketing while continuing substantive business.” There are 68 other companies in that category.
The report includes nearly 500 companies, some which completely closed factories and offices, some that haven’t made any changes to operations in Russia, and hundreds in between. The Yale research team updated the list on Friday.
DoTerra, however, disputes the claim.
The essential oil company is listed in the “digging in” category, meaning it not only chose to stay in Russia, but has defied “demands for exit or reduction of activities,” researchers say.
Other companies in the category include Koch Industries, Huawei, Emirates Airlines and Lenovo.
But in an email the company pushed back on the categorization, telling the Deseret News it curtailed its Russian operations by restricting imports, suspending exports, stopping marketing efforts and canceling or suspending planned investments.
DoTerra says it notified Yale about the adjustments and asked to be removed from the list, “but they have gone silent and are not responding.”
The company’s current involvement in Russia “is very limited to members of our community who have come to rely on doTerra products for their wellbeing,” a spokesperson said. “We are focused on people and continuing to help them while scaling back our business to areas that are essential.”
Based in Pleasant Grove, doTerra also pointed to the nearly $700,000 it donated to support Ukrainian refugees, aimed at “emergency food and supplies, temporary housing, and long-term needs.”
Meanwhile, Young Living said in a statement that its “primary concern has been, and will continue to be, for the safety and well-being of our employees, brand partners and customers in the Ukraine and Russia.”
“We condemn the abhorrent violence we are witnessing and have suspended significant operations and new business investments in Russia, while dedicating major resources to Ukraine relief efforts,” the company said.
According to a March 22 news release, Young Living suspended “capital investments, opening of regional offices, marketing activities, offline trainings, and all events” in Russia. It also canceled a Russian convention and exhibition scheduled for this August.
Young Living did not elaborate on the scope of current business operations in Russia. A verified Instagram account titled “@younglivingrussiayl” was still active and posting images of products as of Friday morning.
The company does business around the world, according to its website, although its global headquarters are in Lehi.
The essential oils company was also recently named in a Change.org petition, calling for a boycott and accusing it of trying “to capitalize on the potential market share gain left by all the companies currently exiting Russia.”
‘Put pain onto the economy’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 triggered a mass exodus of hundreds of international businesses.
The list includes major airlines like Delta, United and American, energy giants like Exxon, British Petroleum and Shell, tech and entertainment companies like Spotify, Ebay and Netflix — even sports organizations like FIFA.
The Biden administration also imposed sanctions on Russia, including banning Russian flights, exports on luxury goods, and military equipment. Sanctions aimed at the Russian central bank froze hundreds of billions of dollars of assets.
And on Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department levied new sanctions aimed at tech companies it says Russia uses to shield itself from current sanctions imposed on the central bank and other financial institutions.
“These voluntary business blockades, matched with government sanctions ... have worked to help slow up this economy, if not bring it to a complete standstill,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld at the Yale School of Management, told PBS News Hour’s Amna Nawaz.
Sonnenfeld is the point man on Yale’s ongoing report on businesses still in Russia. In another interview with CNBC, he blasted the notion that by cutting ties, companies are only hurting innocent Russian employees.
“Employment? The idea of these sanctions is to put pain onto the economy,” he said. “We’re not trying to figure out how to advance the Russian economy right now. It is for the general population to feel enough distress that the economy fails and the government fails.”
A March poll conducted by Morning Consult found that 75% of U.S. adults support companies stopping business dealings and cutting ties with Russia, while 74% want to see companies close Russian factories and offices.
Yale’s report was compiled from public sources like “government regulatory filings, company statements, financial analyst reports, Bloomberg, FactSet, S&P Capital IQ, and Thomson Reuters, as well as non-public sources including a vast network of company insiders, whistleblowers and executive contacts, in addition to Russian-language sources.”