Espreso. Global

MRA calls on Unilever to make good on Russia exit

Mark Dixon
17 August, 2023 Thursday
20:37

In response to reports in the Sunday Telegraph that Unilever’s CEO Hein Schumacher promised to look at the company’s Russia policy with “fresh eyes”, the MRA challenged the company to make the moral decision and warned of the daily consequences of its support for Russia.

Don’t run down the clock

“Unilever has done nothing but wriggle with excuses and cry crocodile tears in response to our demands for it to leave Russia. This offer to reevaluate its position may be just another delaying tactic. Unilever needs to stop running down the clock as a way to keep making blood money. It simply needs to get out of Russia and start to rebuilt its moral reputation.”

New CEO is no excuse

In response to Schumacher’s statement that he was "only a few weeks in this role”, Mr. Dixon added: “Schumacher’s appointment as a new CEO doesn’t reset the clock. The company has acted immorally for more than 18 months and changing CEO does nothing to absolve the company’s support of Russia. It is a corporate not personal moral failure. Schumacher’s excuse that he has only been CEO for a few weeks is a red herring. He has been a Unilever director for nearly a year and should have been listening more closely in board meetings. 'Unilever-gate' has been in the news throughout his tenure as a director.”

War currency

MRA calculations show that Unilever contributed $712,393,584 to the Russian treasury and economy. This equates to approximately $2,000,000 per day or $80,000 per hour. We have quantified this economic support in weapons’ buying power to show why every day counts, and Unilever’s procrastination is reprehensible.

Our estimates show that Unilever’s spend in Russia is the equivalent of 46 bullets per second being fired 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Alternatively, the spend could pay for a new Makarov pistol every 20 seconds from January to December. The monthly salary of a soldier takes only two minutes of Unilever’s economic contribution

The funds could instead pay for the launch of a North Korean rocket every four minutes or an Iranian drone every 15 minutes. At the other end of the spectrum, a destroyed T-72 tank could be replenished every 18 hours and a Sukhoi Su-25 warplane in less than a week. With 8 days of Unilever’s economic contribution, Putin can choose between a new KA-52M helicopter or the launch of a Thermobaric rocket.

A Cornetto ice cream seems innocuous until you realize that millions of them being sold each day can quickly pay for the launch of a missile. Likewise, a bar of Dove soap starts to look pretty dirty when there are enough of them being produced to purchase a Russian tank.

British Unilever is opposing Britain’s ally

A few weeks ago, Unilever confirmed it would not oppose Unilever staff fighting Ukraine. It may therefore soon move from financially supporting Russia to its staff going into battle for Russia against Ukraine. British taxpayers are financially supporting Ukraine and Britain’s Unilever is financially supporting Russia. So, Unilever staff may soon be fighting Britain’s ally. This twisted situation is the direct result of greed over morality.

Vortex of immorality

“Apart from supporting the Russia economy, Unilever has acted hypocritically, engaged in moralwashing and reneged on a promise. It has descended into a vortex of immorality.”

We have classified Unilever as a triple hypocrite:

First hypocrisy: it claims to care about issues facing the world but is right now supporting the country causing the most dangerous issue in the world.

Second hypocrisy: it uses the words 'essential food' to justify selling non-essential food like Magnum and Cornetto ice creams. Since when were such products good for health or survival?

Third hypocrisy: Unilever said the war was a 'senseless act by the Russian state.' It is hypocritical to condemn a war when you support the economy that pays for it.

Also, Unilever made a grandiose-sounding statement that it wouldn't make further investments in Russia, which we class a red herring that distracts from its ongoing Russian activities. Unilever said it would not make a profit in Russia but its recent annual report reveals an immense profit.

The Moral Rating Agency, the corporate watchdog, was set up to get companies out of Russia, to get Russia out of Ukraine, Putin out of Russia, and dictatorships out of the world. The MRA rates global companies on how effectively they are pulling out of Russia on its site moralratingagency.org.

For press inquiries, please contact [email protected].

Or, for comment/interview, we can be reached on one of these numbers:

London: +44 207 556 1092 New York: +1 212 517 1850

About the Moral Rating Agency

The Moral Rating Agency was set up to get Russia out of Ukraine. It later plans to cover corporate unethical actions in other countries and on other issues. In addition to exposing, and crediting, corporations through moral ratings, the MRA maintains an Indelible Ledger of a company’s actions so any later corrective actions do not wipe the slate clean. Time is of the essence, so the rating system includes a disincentive for delay through exposing and tracking what preceded a later corrective action.

Unlike ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rating agencies, which have a commercial responsibility to their institutional investor clients to cover the range of issues these clients wish, the Moral Rating Agency is zeroing in on a single corporate moral issue, in this case the Russia-Ukraine war.

The MRA was founded and is led by Mark Dixon, who runs the mergers & acquisitions consultancy Thinking Linking in the City of London and New York. He was one of the co-founders of the online financial commentator BreakingViews.com, which is today part of Thomson Reuters. Mark has been opposed to autocratic regimes, particularly to the Chinese government and to Putin’s transformation of Russia from a nascent democracy into a fully-throttled autocracy. He has a personal connection with Ukraine because he has owned an apartment in the city of Lviv since 2010. He has also lived in China.

The MRA has a paid staff of moral raters, verifiers, and fact-checkers who operate according to its Rating Methodology. It also has an on-site team involved in statistics, media relations, site production and publishing.

The MRA has no customers, external commercial relationships, or conflicts of any kind. It will rate and publish so that consumers, media and governments can judge companies on a single topic on a fair basis. This objectivity on individual companies and their relative scores is maintained despite the campaigning nature of the agency, as explained in Rating Philosophy.

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