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Nordic and Baltic consumers consider Oreo boycott over Russia ties

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Several Nordic countries have started a consumer boycott of the food manufacturer Mondelez, maker of snacks including Oreo and Toblerone, over its continued operations in warmongering state Russia, reports Latvian Television's Brussels correspondent Ilze Nagla.

Mondelez (company slogan 'Snacking made right') continues to manufacture and sell its wares in Russia and pay taxes to the Russian state despite the war in Ukraine.

Mondelez is blacklisted by Ukraine because it still owns factories in Russia, continues to operate as usual and pays taxes in Russia. Therefore, over the weekend, several large corporations in the Nordic countries decided to stop cooperation with the candy manufacturer and its local factories.

The airlines "SAS" and "Norwegian Air", railway group "SJ", hotel chain "Strawberry", retailer "Elkjop", shipping group "Fjord Line" and the Norwegian Football Association are participating in the boycott and disassociating themselves from Mondelez-owned brands.

They admit that the decision to end cooperation with the popular sweets manufacturer was not an easy one.

"As long as Mondelez is on the list of companies that support injustice and war, we cannot cooperate," explained Dag Terje Klarp Solvang, secretary general of the Norwegian Trekking Association.

"Of course, six months or a year ago, it could have been done differently if the board of Mondelez acted and sold their three factories there. But it was out of our control," said Geran Nyberg, the representative of the Freia trade union.

Many Nordic consumers are now boycotting Mondelez-affiliated local companies like Freia because of its ties to Mondelez, which continues to operate in Russia. The company's union fears it could lead to layoffs if the boycott continues, and as word of Mondelez's continued operations in Russia spreads, it seems highly likely that consumers in the Baltic states will also choose to purchase snacks from other manufacturers.

On its corporate website, Modelez draws special attention to its "priority" of supporting Ukraine

"As the war continues, supporting our colleagues and Ukrainian citizens remains a priority for us at Mondelez International. Our hearts go out to our colleagues, as well as those with family and friends in Ukraine, and we remain committed to supporting them by all available means," says the company. However, "all available means" does not extend to ceasing cooperation with the aggressor state of Russia despite the fact that its own factories in Ukraine were shelled.

The company said it had "scaled back" its activities in Russia by discontinuing new capital investments and advertising spending but argued that its sugary snacks were "helping to maintain the food supply" in Russia. Its Russian corporate website makes no mention of the war and indeed appears to contain only material from before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine was launched.

For anyone considering a boycott, the full list of Mondelez brands is here.

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