Numerous news outlets reported that food and beverage giant Nestlé said March 23 that it will stop the production and sales of the vast majority of its brands in Russia.
The reports cite a spokesperson saying that the Swiss company would focus on supply essential food — including infant food and nutrition for medical and hospital facilities —while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.
“We do not expect to make a profit in the country or pay any related taxes for the foreseeable future in Russia,” the spokesperson was quoted. “If any profit is made, it will be donated in its entirety to humanitarian relief organizations.”
The news comes amid heightened pressure on major multinational consumer brands corporations to halt or at least scale down operations in Russia. Nestlé had previously halted imports and exports of other nonessential products that included its Nespresso Pods and San Pellegrino water, while the company maintained operations at all six of its factories in the country to make goods for sales locally.
The company previously stated that 90 percent of what it sells in Russia is made in the country.
The Nestlé spokesperson reportedly added that the company would continue paying its some 7,000 Russian workers.
Nestlé’s latest action comes four days after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky called out the company by name in speeches made March 19 encouraging western corporations to pull out of Russia.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Zelensky saying, “‘Good food. Good life.’ This is the slogan of Nestlé, your company that refuses to leave Russia,” in an audiolink address to those attending an antiwar protest in Bern, Switzerland.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had heightened criticism of Nestlé two days earlier, Tweeting, “Talked to @Nestle CEO Mr. Mark Schneider about the side effect of staying in Russian market. Unfortunately, he shows no understanding. Paying taxes to the budget of a terrorist country means killing defenseless children&mothers. Hope that Nestle will change its mind soon.”