The Ukrainian National Corruption Prevention Agency (NCPA) announced on Thursday that Swiss food giant Nestle has been declared an international sponsor of war due to its continuing operations in Russia. The NCPA stated on Telegram that although Russia only accounts for just over 2% of Nestle’s global activities, the multinational company has not yet left the country. Nestle’s popular brands include KitKat, Nescafé, Nesquik, and Nestea.
In response, Nestle claimed that it has significantly reduced its portfolio in Russia since the onset of the Ukraine conflict but continues to provide essential goods to locals and fulfill its obligations to its employees. However, the NCPA alleged that in addition to importing raw materials to produce basic goods, Nestle has covertly sent technological equipment to Russia for its own business development.
According to Forbes’ latest ranking, Nestle is among the top ten biggest Western firms still operating in Russia despite sanctions, with reported revenues of over $2 billion in 2022. It is worth noting that Ukraine’s list of international war sponsors has no legal power and is primarily seen as a shaming mechanism aimed at inflicting reputational damage on selected companies with significant business interests in Russia.
Nestle is not alone in being targeted by Ukraine’s blacklist. Nearly 40 international brands, including PepsiCo, Mars, Unilever, Xiaomi, Bacardi, Procter & Gamble, Yves Rocher, and Alibaba (owner of AliExpress), have been added to the list for their alleged reluctance to leave the Russian market.
The inclusion of these companies in the blacklist reflects Kiev’s ongoing efforts to exert pressure on businesses with ties to Russia. However, the effectiveness of this strategy remains questionable, as the list has no legal force and is primarily a tool of public shaming.
In conclusion, Nestle has joined the ranks of international companies accused of being war sponsors by the Ukrainian NCPA due to its ongoing operations in Russia. While Nestle has claimed to reduce its presence in Russia, the NCPA alleges that the company has been covertly supporting its business development in the country. Despite Ukraine’s blacklisting efforts, its list of international war sponsors carries little legal weight and is primarily intended to damage the reputation of targeted companies.