Mondelez International
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Mondelez International is an American snacking giant that has chosen to stay in Russia after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It owns such iconic brands as Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, Philadelphia cream cheese, Cadbury, Milka, and Toblerone chocolates. The company is headquartered in Chicago and has its European HQ in Zurich, Switzerland.

In Russia, Mondelez operates 3 factories and employs about 3,000 people. The company earned $1.463 billion in Russia in 2022, with Mondelez paying over $62 million in profit taxes to the Russian government.

Mondelez justifies its Russian presence on the basis of providing “essential goods” to the local population, with its CEO Dirk Van De Put publicly arguing biscuits could be an essential breakfast food.

In May 2023, Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention designated Mondelez an “International Sponsor of War” on the basis of its ongoing contribution to Russia’s wartime economy. This led to a B2B boycott of Mondelez’s products in Scandinavia as many businesses dropped Mondelez from its list of preferred suppliers, including SAS Airlines, Norwegian Air, IKEA and many others.

At the start of 2024, the Swedish Royal House dropped Marabou chocolates (a well-known local brand owned by Mondelez) from the list of preferred suppliers. Subsequently, the company was forced to issue a statement about the future of its Russia business, which was short on detail and did not commit to an exit.

Throughout 2023 and 2024 there have been many public actions against Mondelez in Chicago led by the Illinois branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America as well as by local activist groups in Germany, UK, Greece and Switzerland. Mondelez also faced severe criticism from British MPs following an FT interview with the company’s CEO where Dirk van De Put stated that investors “do not morally care” about Mondelez’s Russia business. Most recently, the current mayor and candidate for reelection in the West Midlands has called on Mondelez’s CEO to reconsider its decision on Russia.

Despite promises to scale back its Russian business by the end of 2023 and multiple B4Ukraine’s attempts to engage the company’s leadership, Mondelez continues to expand its business by some measures, while reshuffling its leadership in Russia. During its Annual General Meeting on May 22nd, Mondelez’s investors rejected a resolution calling for additional reporting on the implementation of the company’s human rights policy in Russia and Ukraine. However, it is critical to note that over 30% of Mondelez investors voted in favor of additional reporting, including such large institutional investors as Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the New York City Controller, KLP, AP4, AP7 and Storebrand Asset Management.

At a time of extreme difficulty for Ukraine in its pursuit of freedom and survival, not a single penny of corporate money should go to Russia’s militarized budget. It’s time to use all available leverage to ensure Mondelez fully withdraws from the Russian market until Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity are restored.

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Latest news

  • Marko Supronyuk: Chicago’s Mondelez has kept its ties with a warring Russia — Chicago Tribune
  • Commission fines Mondelēz €337.5 million for cross-border trade restrictions — The European Commission
  • Big investors back conflict area and child labour resolutions at Mondelez — Responsible Investor
  • Cadbury owner Mondelez to face scrutiny over selling chocolate in Russia at its AGM — This is Money
  • Swedish investor AP7 to back study on Mondelez Russia business — Reuters
  • Mondelez faces mounting pressure on keeping Russian unit — Bloomberg
  • Milka and Oreo disappear from shelves at Rewe — RetailDetail
  • Cadbury’s US owner has betrayed brand’s roots with Russian presence, says Andy Street — The Telegraph
  • Soaring cocoa prices put spotlight on Hershey, Mondelez earnings — Reuters
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