UKRAINE – The government of Ukraine has added Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company, on its ‘sponsors of war’ list, as it steps up pressure on multinational corporations to completely pull out from Russia. 

Ukraine’s ‘sponsors of war’ list was developed in 2022 to identify and target entities that have been accused of profiting from or indirectly contributing to international conflicts through their business operations.  

Nestle joins rival consumer companies Mondelez International Inc., PepsiCo Inc., and Unilever Plc which have faced scrutiny over their business practices in the conflicted region. 

Nestle’s which owns brands like KitKat, Perrier, Nespresso, and Gerber baby food is speculated to have indirect dealings with entities operating in Russia which is engaged in a bitter war with Ukraine. 

According to a statement by Ukraine’s government’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), “Nestle continues to operate in the aggressor state, supplying goods to its population and expanding its production base in the country.” 

NACP further noted that by continuing to work in the Russian market, Nestle is once again demonstrating to the world its willingness to collaborate with the aggressor state. 

“Nestle’s Russia business also demonstrates to Russia itself that it continues to be integrated into the global market, despite numerous war crimes committed in Ukraine.” 

The maker of chocolate brand KitKat producer issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to ethical and responsible business practices.  

The company expressed its willingness to work closely with Ukrainian authorities and international organizations to address any concerns raised. 

Nestle said, “We refocused our activities on delivering essential and basic foods to the local people and suspended the vast majority of SKUs from our pre-war portfolio in the country. We have halted non-essential imports and exports into and out of Russia.” 

Nestle’s inclusion in the list may have repercussions for the company’s reputation and market value as a good number of consumers are increasingly concerned about the ethical practices of companies they support. 

The inclusion comes at a time after Nestle was primarily linked to alleged involvement in the sourcing of cocoa from regions mired in conflict and extensive use of child labor in West Africa.