Barry Callebaut suspends investments in Russia, in response to the Ukrainian conflict

Barry Callebaut has confirmed that he will suspend capital investments in Russia following the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, reports Neill Barston.

The world’s leading cocoa and chocolate company said it had been “deeply affected” by developments in recent weeks, with many of its colleagues contributing to humanitarian aid surrounding the crisis.

As previously reported by Confectionery Production, major companies operating in the confectionery sector have confirmed a varying range of actions in response to the situation. For its part, Nestlé confirmed this week that it would suspend advertising, as well as sales of a number of its main products, including KitKat in Russia – the brand having forged a strong association with Barry Callebaut for its ruby ​​variety.

Other big companies, including Mars, Mondelez and Cargill, have all pledged to scale back their operations in the region, although some observers, as well as Ukraine’s president, have called on the companies to go even further by pulling out of the business entirely. Russia to ensure that taxes are not paid to its government.

Consequently, a series of major financial sanctions have been imposed on Moscow, affecting its central banks, as well as its elite billionaires who were personally targeted by sanctions in direct response to the invasion of neighboring Ukraine last month. , which shows no signs of winding down. The UN, along with the vast majority of world leaders have called for a quick peaceful resolution to the situation, which has seen 10 million Ukrainians displaced from their homes.

As for Barry Callebaut, as reported by Confectionery Production, the company recently opened its third confectionery manufacturing plant in Russia, in Kaliningrad, which employed about 40 people serving the region. The company also operates facilities in Chekhov, Moscow region, and another in Kasimov, Ryazan. These will continue to operate, with the company saying they operate as part of everyday food supply chains.

The company also operates a branch of one of its chocolate academies in Moscow, providing training for chocolatiers, which is also expected to continue to operate.

Speaking on the situation, Barry Callebaut told Confectionery Production: “We are deeply touched by the images of people having to abandon their homes, families and friends due to the military attack on Ukraine. Many of our colleagues have family and friends in Ukraine, and their stories are very touching. Our company and many of our colleagues support organizations that meet the humanitarian needs of all those affected by the conflict, inside and outside Ukraine.

“We have three factories in Russia which mainly produce for the local Russian market. We have no direct presence in Ukraine.

“At the moment, we are continuing our operations in Russia. Our primary focus today is to continue to provide food products, and chocolate is part of the daily diet for many, and to support our employees and their families. We have suspended new capital investments and will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve. »

Industry under pressure to react

In recent weeks, the industry has come under pressure to react to the situation, as major brands such as Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble, as well as Unilever have all reportedly reduced their operations in the country.

Another major player in the cocoa sector, Cargill, has also faced pressure from protest groups such as Mighty Earth, which said the company should lead by example by exiting Russia altogether.

In response, the company issued a statement: “The people of Ukraine are living an unthinkable and horrifying reality. Since their country was invaded, many have lost their lives, their families, their homes – everything. Throughout our 157 years, two things have been a constant: we always put people first, prioritizing the safety of our employees, and we do everything we can to feed the world. This is how we feed families and sustain life around the world.

Our purpose and our principles have been with us since our beginnings and guide us every day. We have a long history in Russia, but now is a time like no other. As such, we are reducing our business activities there and have stopped investing.

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