Unilever designated ‘international war sponsor’ in Ukraine
Ukraine’s anti-graft agency, NAZK, has added the British corporation Unilever to its list of ‘international war sponsors’ since the company pays significant taxes to Russia’s state budget, it said in a statement on Monday.
- Subscribe to LIGA.net in English on Twitter
Unilever, whose share of Russian business accounted for 1.4 percent of the global turnover last year, employs more than 3,000 people in Russia.
In 2022, its net profit increased by 24.9 percent compared to the year before, amounting to EUR 8.03 billion.
After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Unilever pledged to suspend all imports and exports to and from Russia and halt media and advertising spending.
Nevertheless, almost a year into the war in Ukraine, Unilever Russia’s profits doubled from RUB 4.8 billion (EUR 56 million) to more than RUB 9.2 billion (EUR 108 million).
It also paid about USD 50 million in taxes to the Russian budget.
While Unilever said the company's position on doing business in Russia has not changed, its facilities in Omsk, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, and Tula, as well as its offices, continue to operate.
"Unilever cannot oppose the war while simultaneously aiding Mr Putin's war machine," Oleksandr Novikov, the head of NAZK, was quoted as saying.
"We have added this company to the list of international sponsors of war because their hundreds of millions of tax contributions to the Russian budget help finance the war against Ukraine and may even indirectly fund a group of Russian mercenaries.
"Unilever must leave Russia now, or history will remember its complicity in this war."
The list of international sponsors of war is a reputational tool. The designated companies are also included in the World-Check database, which keeps track of high-risk individuals and organisations and is used globally to identify and manage financial, regulatory and reputational risks.
Previously, such well-known companies as Metro, Procter & Gamble, Auchan Holding and Bonduelle were also listed.