Ukraine accuses 26 companies of sponsoring the war, including major multinationals such as Metro, Mondelez and Procter & Gamble.
Politics or business
Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency is stirring up controversy in the retail and FMCG industries: the government agency has published its own blacklist, which is currently being circulated among EU diplomats. The list includes multinationals that are allegedly financing the war in Ukraine, notably by continuing to do business with Russia. In addition, Ukraine suspects certain companies of not respecting the sanctions against Russia.
Among the FMCG companies on the list are Procter & Gamble, Mondelez and Bonduelle. The latter had already been singled out for allegedly providing food aid parcels to Russian soldiers, although the company was quick to refute the allegations. Now the Ukrainian agency is denouncing the firm’s continued operations in Russia. Procter & Gamble’s large Gillette razor factory in St Petersburg is also continuing to operate.
Mondelez CEO Dirk Van De Put only last week defended his decision to stay in Russia, despite it being “arguably the most difficult decision of his career”. “Ninety per cent of what we sell in Russia, we also produce in Russia. We employ nearly 3,000 people there and buy raw materials from 10,000 farmers”, Van De Put told Belgian newspaper De Tijd. This did not prevent the CEO from personally appearing on the blacklist.
A delicate time
Metro is the only German company on the blacklist. The wholesaler deliberately pursues its activities in both Ukraine and Russia, but claims to have explicitly condemned the war on several occasions. According to Yale University, more than a thousand companies have voluntarily withdrawn from Russia or significantly reduced their presence, but more than 200 remain.
Although it is unlikely that there will be any European sanctions or official consequences for the companies on the list, Ukraine hopes to damage their reputations. The document is particularly sensitive at the moment, as the European Union is working on an eleventh round of sanctions. In the light of these negotiations, no country wants to be home to any “sponsors of war”.