ENGINEERING giant Weir Group was one of the first Scottish companies to make public its position over its operations in Russia this week.
The Glasgow-based firm employs 270 across Russia and Ukraine, supporting iron ore mining industries, and it is also involved in copper, gold and diamond mining in Siberia.
It has suspended operations in Russia and told The Herald it had managed to move its 30 Ukraine workers to safety as work there was disrupted when the Putin invasion was unleashed.
Kate Forbes, the Scottish finance secretary, said in an open letter to Scottish businesses that “the Scottish Government has made clear it stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian Government and its people”.
She said: “We all have a moral duty right now to consider what else we can do to try to stop Putin’s aggression, including via economic action.”
Ms Forbes referenced businesses and organisations which have moved to cut links with Russia. Weir chief executive Jon Stanton said it is “not taking orders or shipping anything”.
University of Edinburgh, which has £1 million worth of shares in sanctioned Sberbank, is reviewing its portfolio.
“We support these decisions and would encourage all Scottish businesses to follow their example,” said Ms Forbes.
“Beyond direct investments, reviewing operations for links and connections to Russia – however indirect – and then severing them is the right decision.”
She said she welcomed the effort being undertaken “right now” by businesses across Scotland “to do exactly that”.
Ms Forbes urged them to continue to conduct this work at pace, adding: “Businesses will be supported as they adapt to remove links with Russia, and should contact our economic agencies for more advice and support in this regard.”
It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is examining whether she can halt public funding and seize assets of people and firms in Scotland with links to the Kremlin.
There is likely to be a new geographical sphere of commerce as business links and, more influentially, energy dependency shift.
The case for investing in North Sea fields is “clear amid Ukraine crisis”, says business correspondent Mark Williamson in his column this week. He writes: “The real prospect of supplies being disrupted has underlined the huge risk involved in Europe relying on Russian output to meet so much of its energy needs.”
Also this week, the unacceptable cost of Scotland’s remote housing crisis is highlighted by business editor Ian McConnell. “This housing shortage is not a new thing,” he writes. “However, with a surge in holiday lets fuelled by Airbnb-style rentals, and with dizzying growth in house prices across Scotland and the UK as a whole driven by protracted rock-bottom interest rates certainly not helping, the situation looks quite desperate.”
Questions were asked by deputy business editor Scott Wright in his column after the sudden departure of the first chief executive of the Scotland’s investment bank, who later said the move was related to ‘personal reasons’.
David Whyte tells business correspondent Kristy Dorsey how he and Andrew Stevenson, creators of the “People Make Glasgow” marketing spectacular, set up Tangent Graphic so they could do things their way.