Unilever accused of ‘taking the world for idiots’ by selling Magnum ice creams in Russia as ‘essential goods’
Unilever was accused of ‘taking the world for idiots’ by selling Magnum and Cornetto ice creams in Russia as ‘essential goods’.
The consumer goods giant has not pulled products from the country, and is one of a few Western firms still trading there since February’s invasion of Ukraine.
Global businesses have incurred huge costs by shutting up shop in Russia. Fast food chain McDonald’s took a hit of up to £1.2billion.
Business as usual: Unilever has not pulled products from Russia, and is one of a few Western firms still trading there since February’s invasion of Ukraine
Unilever boss Alan Jope said in March it would supply only ‘essential food and hygiene products’.
But a report by the Moral Rating Agency (MRA), which exposes firms’ presence in Russia, says Unilever is still supplying ice cream.
MRA founder Mark Dixon accused Unilever of ‘moral-washing’ and said: ‘The company is taking the world for an idiot.’
Bill Browder, the US anti-corruption campaigner and author of Red Notice, How I Became Putin’s No 1 Enemy, said Russia is ‘committing mass murder’ in Ukraine.
He said: ‘If Unilever is still doing business there it’s totally unacceptable.
‘Their excuse that Magnums and Cornetto ice cream are essential goods is both laughable and the height of cynicism.’
Labour MP Chris Bryant said: ‘Much as I love a Magnum, there is no way they are essential to life.
‘What is essential is ending Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine and using everything in our armoury – social, diplomatic and economic –to bring Russia to its senses.’
Unilever ranked third in the MRA’s ‘hall of shame’.
Others criticised include Nestle and French state-owned energy giant EDF. Unilever was asked to comment.