Swedish Football Association challenges German & French counterparts to cut ties with sponsor Mondelez
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The Swedish Football Association (SvFF) suspends advertisements with its long-standing sponsor Marabou chocolate brand owned by the American snacking giant Mondelez International over its continued business activities in Russia.

This is unprecedented as the SvFF holds a 20 year-long relationship that has come under scrutiny due to Mondelez’s continued business operations in Russia, 15 months since the invasion of Ukraine and 90,000 of reported war crimes committed by the Russian Armed Forces.

The move is raising pressure on the French Football Federation (FFF) and the German Football League (DFL) both of which hold sponsorship agreements with the iconic Milka chocolate brand owned by Mondelez. B4Ukraine, a coalition of over 80 civil society organisations globally, calls on the DFL and the FFF to follow suit with suspension of advertising and partnership.

Chicago-based Mondelez International boasts a wide portfolio of well-known brands such as Milka & Toblerone chocolates, Oreo biscuits, belVita and TUC crackers, Philadelphia cream cheese & others.

In 2021, this American confectionery giant became a sponsor of the German Bundesliga and second-tier Bundesliga 2, signing a multi-year agreement. In both Germany and France such sponsorship agreements are primarily focused on Mondelez’s signature Milka chocolate brand. With its distinctive lilac packaging, Mondelez’s Milka is the official partner of the French national team Les Bleus.

On May 25th, Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) designated Mondelez an “international sponsor of war.” The decision was made on the basis of Mondelez’s ongoing operations in Russia, where the company is one of the largest taxpayers and, therefore, an indirect contributor to the Kremlin’s war chest.

The company has over 2,500 employees and operates three factories in Russia. According to the NACP’s statement, Mondelez paid approximately 61 million USD in taxes to the Russian budget in 2022. Unlike other confectionery makers such as Lindt or Haribo, Mondelez has not withdrawn from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Despite its initial promise to scale back “all non-essential activities in Russia,” Mondelez has managed to increase its revenues by 38%, profits by 303% and capital by 159% in 2022. Additionally, the American snacking giant has increased exports of such signature products as Milka chocolates into Russia from third countries since the start of the war.

According to B4Ukraine’s internal sources, Mondelez has faced a significant internal backlash from its employees who have put forward two global petitions to the company’s senior management with a plea to “do what’s right.” The latest petition is estimated to have been signed by 1,300 employees globally. Recently, voices have been raised in several newspapers across Europe calling for a boycott of Mondelez’s products.

Mondelez International held its annual general meeting on May 17th, 2023, where questions regarding its Russian operations were left unanswered.

The B4Ukraine coalition strongly urges German and French Football Associations to cut ties with their sponsor Mondelez International, urging the company to put human rights over profits and to exit Russia responsibly.

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