Beloved Brands or International War Sponsors? How Largest Consumer Brands Enable Russia’s War
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After more than two years since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion against Ukraine, there are still over 2,000 international companies that chose to remain, contributing to Russia’s increasingly militarized economy via corporate taxes and providing material support, including mobilization of employees, as per requirements of Russia’s Partial Mobilization Order.

Fast-moving consumer goods firms (FMCGs) comprise the second-highest revenue-generating and tax-paying sector in Russia, after alcohol and tobacco, making a significant contribution to the country’s war economy.

New data from the Kyiv School of Economics shows that the world’s largest consumer goods companies continue earning billions in Russia, despite the risk of financing Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The FMCG sector includes major brands such as Mondelez ($1.4 billion in revenue in Russia in 2023), PepsiCo ($4.2 billion), Mars ($2.9 billion), Procter & Gamble ($1.8 billion), Nestle ($2.8 billion), and Unilever ($700 million). All of the six firms have been named “International Sponsors of War” by the Ukrainian government for their significant contribution to Russia’s war economy.

All these firms argue that they provide ‘essential’ goods and show concern for the welfare of their Russia-based employees, while producing chocolates and biscuits, while also being obliged to help the state recruit eligible employees.

On June 11, Ukrainian campaigners in Chicago are staging a protest during the Global Summit of the Consumer Goods Forum, which will gather CEOs of key FMCG giants, many of which are still operating in Russia. Co-chair of the conference is Dirk Van de Put, the CEO of Mondelez, who recently stated that investors “do not morally care” whether companies still do business in Russia.

Dr. Mariya Dmytriv-Kapeniak, President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America — Illinois Division, stated, “It is time to cease all business operations in Russia and stop providing financial resources to a brutal regime whose army has committed over 130,000 war crimes and continues to exterminate Ukrainians, especially our women and children. We cannot stay silent about corporate war profiteering while our friends and families are being brutalized and killed.”

A recently issued US Government Business Advisory on Russia clarifies the risks for US companies still doing business in the country, including the risk of being complicit in Russia’s growing number of war crimes, which currently stands at over 130,000.

The B4Ukraine coalition calls on all international companies still doing business in Russia to drop their keys and leave the market of the aggressor state, therefore depriving the Russian government from an important source of war financing.

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