13. November 2023

Ukraine labels Rockwool an “International Sponsor of War”

Rockwool has been placed on Ukraine's list of international sponsors of war. The authorities strongly condemn the company's continued presence in Russia and Rockwool's systematic deliveries to Russia's navy.

Ukraine criticises Rockwool's contribution to Russia's war chest and strongly condemns the company's deliveries to the Russian Navy. Foto og data: HiFleet. Illustration: MG.
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The Ukrainian authorities have today added the Danish Rockwool Group to the list of “International Sponsors of War” as a result of the company’s business activities in Russia.

The justification states, among other things:

“Rockwool sees no contradiction between ‘standing side by side with the Ukrainian people’ and supplying the aggressor state’s war machine.”

International sponsors of war

The list of “International Sponsors of War” is maintained by Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP).

In addition to Rockwool and its key people, 45 companies and 247 individuals are currently on the list – including well-known companies such as Nestlé, Unilever, PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Alibaba Group and Mondelēz International.

Almost a third of all companies on the list come from China, while 23 companies originate from countries in Europe. Rockwool is the first Scandinavian company to make the list.

Source: NACP

The Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) is behind the list of “International Sponsors of War”. Rockwool is the first Scandinavian company to be given the label, bringing the total number of companies on the list to 46, of which 24 are European.

Oleksandr Novikov, head of the NACP, explains that the list includes companies that supply Russia’s public and private sectors with essential goods and services, and that at the same time contribute to Russia’s budget and funding of the war.

“After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Rockwool made a conscious decision to remain in the Russian market. Through intermediaries, the company continues to supply their construction materials to the Russia state, including the Russian Ministry of Defense.”

“In total, Rockwool, through its Russian representative offices, paid more than 16 million US dollars in profit tax to the Russian budget in 2022. Every amount contributes to the aggressor state that continues to wage its unprovoked war against Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure,” he says.

While there are no direct legal consequences for being on the list, the NACP states that the goal is to hit companies on their reputation and thus their wallets.

Condemns Rockwool

NACP also directly justifies the addition of Rockwool with revelations from Danwatch and Ekstra Bladet that since 2014, Rockwool has sold products used in at least 31 warships and submarines in the Russian Navy through official suppliers.

“This is terrible. We are now seeing how this very same Russian fleet is being used by the aggressor to shell peaceful Ukrainian cities. Rockwool should understand that they have contributed to this situation,” says Oleksandr Novikov.

Oleksandr Novikov has a long career as a prosecutor specialising in anti-corruption. Since 2020, he has been the head of Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention, NACP. Photo: NACP (PR photo)

“Russia started a war against Ukraine back in 2014, annexing Crimea and launching an invasion in the east of our country. In 2022, after Russia launched a full-scale invasion against Ukraine, Rockwool did not stop from cooperating with war criminals.”

The head of the anti-corruption agency does not mince his words when describing Rockwool’s responsibility today.

“Our military is doing incredible things in the Black Sea, eliminating the Russian Black Sea Fleet, but what if Rockwool didn’t help the Russian Navy with its critical materials then? Most likely now it would have less capacity because Russia cannot produce such specialized materials internally.”

“The blood of peaceful Ukrainians killed by Russian missiles fired from the Russian fleet is on the hands of Rockwool, among others,” says Oleksandr Novikov.

NACP states that the companies on the war sponsor list are also automatically included in World-Check, one of the world’s largest financial risk assessment databases. It is used by companies, banks and insurance companies around the world to assess the risk of other companies or individuals.

“for global companies, the consequences of being on the list are worse than continuing to do business with the aggressor country,” the NACP writes in the reasoning for Rockwool’s inclusion on the list.

Danwatch and Ekstra Bladet have submitted a number of questions to Rockwool, but we have not yet received a response.

To Danwatch and Ekstra Bladet, Rockwool has previously maintained that it is the “least bad choice” for the group to stay in Russia, where it operates four factories reportedly worth billions of Danish kroner.

“If we choose to leave Russia, we know that the factories will be taken over by a local player and will continue to operate as if nothing had happened – only in Russian hands (…) Instead, we choose to do what we believe is least helpful to the Russian regime, which is to maintain passive ownership,” Rockwool said earlier this year.

Rockwool has also admitted to the Danish Business Authority that it has been aware that intermediaries have supplied the company’s products to Russian naval vessels. However, the group denies having a direct customer relationship with the Russian military, as all products are sold through intermediaries.

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