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22 Feb 2024

Emily Hawkins, This Is Money

British MPs call on Mondelez to leave Russia & stop funding 'war machine'

Wikimedia Commons

Get out of Russia, you're paying for Putin's war, senior MPs tell Cadbury's owner Mondelez, 22 February 2024

The owner of Cadbury has been attacked by MPs for continuing to sell chocolate in Russia two years after the invasion of Ukraine.

Labour’s Alex Sobel, who co-chairs an all-party Ukraine group, has written to Dirk Van de Put, chief executive of US food giant Mondelez...

It comes after Van de Put this week said investors do not ‘morally care’ whether companies continue to do business in Russia, adding that no shareholders had pressured it to leave after the invasion of Ukraine.

Mondelez’s Russian business contributed 2.8 per cent of its global revenues in 2023, down from 4 per cent in 2022.

In the letter, Sobel says he is ‘deeply concerned’ by Mondelez’s actions.

And campaigners said it was time for it to ‘drop the keys and leave’ Russia...

It argues a full exit would cause more harm than good as its operations could fall into the hands of the Kremlin. 

Mondelez has already faced a sweeping backlash in other countries, including in Scandinavia...

Sobel said Mondelez’s actions send ‘a worrying message and suggests a disregard for the suffering of those affected by the conflict’.

He added: ‘I understand the complexities of operating in a global market, but I ask that you consider the broader impact – by continuing to operate and sell products in Russia, you risk undermining the values of integrity and compassion that should guide corporate conduct.

‘I urge you to reassess your stance on this matter and take decisive action to align with principles of social justice and human rights’...

Bob Seely, who chairs the Ukraine parliamentary group, said: ‘I think any company doing business in Russia without good reason should suffer reputational damage. They are helping fascism, pure and simple.

‘Anyone who makes a profit in Russia is funding a war machine that is killing in Ukraine and murdering political opponents in Russia’...

Mondelez has said there are ‘no easy decisions’ and if it fully exited Russia, it could fall into the hands of the Kremlin.

A spokesman said: ‘Since the beginning of the war, we have condemned the brutal aggression against Ukraine. If we suspended full operations, we would risk turning over our full operations to another party who could use the full proceeds for their own interests.

‘It would mean cutting off part of the food supply for families who have no say in the war. It would also create great uncertainty for our 3,000 colleagues and more than 10,000 farmers who depend on us.’