Dove proprietor Unilever says it is going to allow registration of Russian employees

Shopper items big Unilever has confirmed it is going to adjust to laws that might see its workers in Russia conscripted into the warfare in Ukraine.

In a letter to marketing campaign group B4Ukraine, dated 11 July 2023 and printed by the BBC on Sunday, Chief Enterprise Operations and Provide Chain Officer Reginaldo Ecclissato notes the Russian regulation requiring companies to “allow the conscription of workers ought to they be referred to as,” and says Unilever will “all the time adjust to all of the legal guidelines of the international locations we function in.”

The laws applies to holders of Russian citizenship.

Unilever confirmed the veracity of the letter to CNBC and declined to offer additional remark.

The corporate’s huge vary of manufacturers consists of Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Knorr, Cif, Domestos, Magnum, Cornetto and Vaseline. It has round 3,000 workers in Russia, working throughout 4 manufacturing websites and one head workplace. Merchandise it sells in Russia embody private care and hygiene objects and ice cream.

It has confronted criticism for its resolution to proceed to do enterprise in Russia amid worldwide sanctions and the withdrawal of many corporations following the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Ecclissato stated within the letter that Unilever has confronted three choices for its Russia operations. One was closing all operations Russia, after which he stated Unilever’s enterprise and types within the nation could be “appropriated — after which operated — by the Russian state.” The second was promoting the enterprise, which he stated would additionally doubtless profit the state. The third, which Unilever has adopted, was persevering with to run the enterprise with constraints which have been in place since March.

“To be clear, none of those choices are fascinating. Nonetheless, we consider the third stays the most suitable choice, each to keep away from the chance of our enterprise ending up within the fingers of the Russian state, both straight or not directly, and to assist defend our folks. We are going to after all proceed to maintain this place underneath shut evaluation,” he wrote.

For the reason that invasion, Unilever studies it has stopped all capital flows in and in a foreign country and halted imports and exports of its merchandise, in addition to stopping media and promoting spending.

Ecclissato stated the corporate skilled a 15% decline in gross sales volumes in Russia final yr, however turnover elevated due to value rises and a stronger ruble. He stated the corporate paid 3.8 billion rubles ($42.06 million) in taxes in 2022.

The letter is a response to a collection of questions from the B4Ukraine Coalition, which urged Unilever to instantly stop all operations in Russia and exit the market. It requested for touch upon whether or not the corporate had obtained requests for workers to be conscripted and the way it will reply to those, amongst different questions.

Ecclissato stated Unilever runs its Russia enterprise “in alignment with our international ideas together with the security and wellbeing of our workers.” He didn’t reply to B4Ukraine’s query about whether or not any workers had been conscripted or contacted about conscription.

An Unilever spokesperson advised the BBC that any worker who was referred to as up wouldn’t proceed to be paid by the corporate.