RUSSIA – British multinational consumer goods company, Unilever has been accused of ‘moral-washing and taking the world for an idiot’ by Moral Rating Agency (MRA).

The agency has reported that Unilever disappoints more than any other giant consumer goods or food group, even though Nestlé was given a harder time in the media for its inactions.

These sectors have been dancing the concept of what is “essential”, in an attempt to justify what they are not doing.

MRA said Pepsi decided to carve out baby food, Nestlé started off using the words “essential food products” for keeping a vast range of products but after a pressure cut, most of them described the rest as “essential products” all over again.

Although MRA disagrees with exemptions for essential Activities other than clinical trials, it notes that all three companies have cut production to some degree based on this concept.

By contrast, MRA insinuates Unilever, took a different meaning to its announcement of continued local production and supply of “everyday essential food and hygiene products.”

The agency explained that it thought not cutting essential products implied it was limiting non-essential ones, however, Unilever considers Cornetto and Magnum ice cream also to be essential.

MRA noted that ice cream being sold in Russia cannot be covered in their “hygiene” caveat.

Moreover, the company made a grandiose-sounding statement that it wouldn’t make further investments in Russia, which it classes a Red Herring.

MRA has expressed concerns over the statement made by the company of not making a profit from Russia, saying it seems more of a profit warning than a moral position since Unilever didn’t say what it would do with any profits or for how long it would not make a profit, and anyway it doesn’t stop Russia making a profit from Unilever.

 Ben & Jerry’s fires new accusations to Unilever

Elsewhere, Ben & Jerry’s has said parent company Unilever wrongly transferred brand names out of reach of its independent board more than 20 years ago in an updated lawsuit over its business in Israel filed on Friday in federal court.

The Vermont ice cream maker has also accused Unilever of “covertly” moving its trademarks to a Unilever business unit in 2000 and 2001, a move that violated a merger agreement with the consumer goods conglomerate.

The maker of Chubby Hubby ice cream only learned about the move from recent court filings, according to the lawsuit.

In the updated lawsuit filed late on Friday, Ben & Jerry’s added London-based Unilever as a defendant and said it is seeking damages and wants the trademarks returned.

Ben & Jerry’s also said in the lawsuit that Unilever has “actively attempted to undermine” its independent board by refusing to disburse revenue from the ice cream maker to charities, eliminating jobs affecting product mission, and marketing products without its approval.

The company has asked a judge to stop Zinger from selling the ice cream on the West Bank because it was inconsistent with its values.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro-industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.