Today, British conglomerate Unilever, which recently came under heavy media and public pressure due to its Russia business, announced its 3rd quarter financial results. The maker of Cornetto ice-cream and Dove soap defended its position to remain in Russia by referring to “containment actions” taken to “minimize Unilever’s contribution to the Russian state.”
While the nature of such “containment actions” remains unknown, it is crystal clear that after more than 600 days since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine there is an acute need for bold action.
Unilever’s quarter 3 results revealed solid financials and a “new action plan to drive growth and unlock potential,” yet no action plan to exit from Russia and revive Unilever’s tarnished reputation.
Every multinational business remaining in the aggressor state is contributing to human rights abuses in Ukraine - either indirectly, by making tax contributions to the Kremlin - or directly, by helping to conscript employees and provide resources to the Russian army, as per requirements of Russia’s Partial Mobilization Law.
While the Kremlin continues to put up roadblocks to leaving the Russian market, B4Ukraine’s research shows that it is still possible to make a responsible exit and avoid complicity in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
B4Ukraine calls on the Unilever’s Board of Management to investigate the reasons behind this apparent inertia in Russia and reevaluate the company’s commitment to its stated values and ethical principles. The responsibility falls on the Board to scrutinize this deviation from the values that Unilever has long professed to uphold.