Despite the attack on Ukraine, Ritter Sport continues to supply chocolate to Russia. In an interview, CEO Andreas Ronken explains the decision – and appeals to German politicians.

Ritter Sport boss Andreas Ronken defends his decision to continue supplying chocolate to Russia despite the attack on Ukraine – despite the death threats he has received for doing so. “Our decision was the right one, and I would make the same decision again,” he told the Berlin news magazine FOCUS. “We used the attention to point out that Russian children also like to eat chocolate.”

“This case shows the dilemma between attitude and responsibility. Russia is our second largest market. If we had left there, we would have had to lay off 200 people at the Waldenbuch site,” said Ronken. The war will “not be won through food restrictions.”

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the family-run company from Waldbuch has donated the profits from its business in Russia to Ukraine aid, and in 2023 it is expected to be almost one million euros. CEO Ronken believes that German SMEs are facing greater geopolitical challenges than before, and not just in the case of Ukraine: “As a medium-sized company, we can definitely no longer stay out of everything without being political. We may soon have the same issue with China.” However, he cannot “only supply countries that behave one hundred percent in accordance with our morals,” Ronken told FOCUS.

The head of the chocolate manufacturer wants German politicians to “talk less and just do things”. There is a lack of will to reform in almost all politically and socially important areas, from education to the shortage of skilled workers to the reduction of bureaucracy: “We are too stupid for the energy transition. We can’t handle digitalization either. We obviously need a loss of prosperity before we can tackle this huge backlog of reforms.”