SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 |
For the transition period from ___________ to ______________
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 1-16483
Mondelēz International, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
|905 West Fulton Market, Suite 200|
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: 847-943-4000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading|
|Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A Common Stock, no par value||MDLZ||The Nasdaq Global Select Market|
|1.000% Notes due 2022||MDLZ22||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|1.625% Notes due 2023||MDLZ23||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|1.625% Notes due 2027||MDLZ27||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|2.375% Notes due 2035||MDLZ35||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|4.500% Notes due 2035||MDLZ35A||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|3.875% Notes due 2045||MDLZ45||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x
Note: Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||x|| ||Accelerated filer||¨|
|Non-accelerated filer||¨|| ||Smaller reporting company||☐|
| || ||Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No x
The aggregate market value of the shares of Class A Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of such stock on June 30, 2020, was $72.2 billion. At January 29, 2021, there were 1,412,114,559 shares of the registrant’s Class A Common Stock outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its annual meeting of shareholders expected to be held on May 19, 2021 are incorporated by reference into Part III hereof.
Mondelēz International, Inc.
| || ||Page No.|
In this report, for all periods presented, “we,” “us,” “our,” “the Company” and “Mondelēz International” refer to Mondelēz International, Inc. and subsidiaries. References to “Common Stock” refer to our Class A Common Stock.
This report contains a number of forward-looking statements. Words, and variations of words, such as “will,” “may,” “expect,” “would,” “could,” “might,” “plan,” “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “likely,” “drive,” “seek,” “aim,” “potential,” “project,” “objective,” “commitment,” “outlook” and similar expressions are intended to identify our forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements about: the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on consumer demand, costs, product mix, the availability of our products, our strategic initiatives, our and our partners’ global supply chains, operations and routes to market, and our financial results; our future performance, including our future revenue growth, profitability and earnings growth; our strategy to accelerate consumer-centric growth, drive operational excellence and create a winning growth culture; our leadership position in snacking; our ability to meet consumer needs and demand and identify innovation and renovation opportunities; the results of driving operational excellence; volatility in global consumer, commodity, currency and capital markets; price volatility and pricing actions; the cost environment and measures to address increased costs; our tax rate, tax positions, tax proceedings, transition tax liability and the impact of U.S. and Swiss tax reform on our future results; market share; the United Kingdom ("U.K.") withdrawal from the European Union ("E.U.") and its impact on our business and results, including in connection with disagreements on trade terms, increased costs or supply chain or distribution delays, or other disruptions or negative impacts; the costs of, timing of expenditures under and completion of our restructuring program; category growth; our effect on demand and our market position; consumer snacking behaviors; commodity prices and supply; our investments; research, development and innovation; political, business and economic conditions and volatility; the effect of the imposition of increased or new tariffs, quotas, trade barriers or similar restrictions on our sales or key commodities and potential changes in U.S. trade programs, trade relations, regulations, taxes or fiscal policies; currency exchange rates, controls and restrictions, volatility in foreign currencies and the effect of currency translation on our results of operations; the application of highly inflationary accounting for our Argentinean subsidiaries and the potential for and impacts from currency devaluation in other countries; our e-commerce channel strategies; manufacturing and distribution capacity; changes in laws and regulations, regulatory compliance and related costs; the outcome and effects on us of legal proceedings and government investigations; the estimated value of goodwill and intangible assets; amortization expense for intangible assets; impairment of goodwill and intangible assets and our projections of operating results and other factors that may affect our impairment testing; our accounting estimates and judgments and the impact of new accounting pronouncements; pension obligations, expenses, contributions and assumptions; employee benefit plan expenses, obligations and assumptions; compensation expense; our human capital initiatives; our sustainability and mindful snacking strategies, goals and initiatives and the impacts of climate change; our ability to prevent and respond to cybersecurity breaches and disruptions; our liquidity, funding sources and uses of funding, including debt issuances and our use of commercial paper; our capital structure and liquidity, credit availability and our ability to raise capital, and the impact of market disruptions on us, our counterparties and our business partners; the planned phase out of London Interbank Offered Rates; our risk management program, including the use of financial instruments and the impacts and effectiveness of our hedging activities; working capital; capital expenditures and funding; funding of debt maturities; share repurchases; dividends; long-term value for our shareholders; guarantees; compliance with our debt covenants; and our contractual and other obligations.
These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and many of these risks and uncertainties are currently amplified by and may continue to be amplified by the COVID-19 outbreak. Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those described in our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, uncertainty about the magnitude, duration, geographic reach, impact on the global economy and related current and potential travel restrictions of the COVID-19 outbreak; the current, and uncertain future, impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our business, growth, reputation, prospects, financial condition, operating results (including components of our financial results), cash flows and liquidity; risks from operating globally including in emerging markets; changes in currency exchange rates, controls and restrictions; volatility of commodity and other input costs; weakness in economic conditions; weakness in consumer spending; pricing actions; tax matters including changes in tax laws and rates, disagreements with taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes; use of information technology and third party service providers; unanticipated disruptions to our business, such as the malware incident, cyberattacks or other security breaches; global or regional health pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19; competition; protection of our reputation and brand image; changes in consumer preferences and demand and our ability to innovate and differentiate our products; the restructuring program and our other transformation initiatives not yielding the anticipated benefits; changes in the assumptions on which the restructuring program is based; management of our workforce; consolidation of retail customers and competition with retailer and other economy brands; changes in our relationships with customers, suppliers or distributors; legal, regulatory, tax or benefit law changes, claims or actions; the impact of climate change on our supply chain and operations; strategic transactions; significant changes in valuation factors that may adversely affect our impairment testing of goodwill and intangible assets; perceived or actual product quality issues or product recalls; failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting; volatility of and access to capital or other markets and our liquidity; pension costs; the expected discontinuance of London Interbank Offered Rates and transition to any other interest rate benchmark; and our ability to protect our intellectual property and intangible assets. We disclaim and do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement in this report except as required by applicable law or regulation.
Item 1. Business.
We are one of the world’s largest snack companies with global net revenues of $26.6 billion and net earnings of $3.6 billion in 2020. We make and sell primarily snacks, including biscuits (cookies, crackers and salted snacks), chocolate, gum & candy, as well as various cheese & grocery and powdered beverage products. Our portfolio includes snack brands such as Cadbury, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Oreo, belVita and LU biscuits; Halls candy; Trident gum and Tang powdered beverages.
Mondelēz International at a Glance
We aim to be the global leader in snacking by focusing on growth, execution and culture. In 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected economies, marketplaces, communities and businesses around the world, including ours, we prioritized our employees, customers and communities and largely continued to execute against our strategic priorities and positioned ourselves to emerge stronger. Please refer to our COVID-19 discussion in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. Our strategic plan builds on our strong foundations, including our unique portfolio of iconic global and local brands, our attractive global footprint, our market leadership in developed and emerging markets, our deep innovation, marketing and distribution capabilities, and our margin expansion in recent years that allows us to make ongoing investments in our brands and capabilities.
Our plan to drive long-term growth includes three strategic priorities: accelerating consumer-centric growth, driving operational excellence and creating a winning growth culture.
•Accelerate consumer-centric growth. As demands on consumers’ time increase and consumer eating habits evolve, we aim to meet consumers' snacking needs by providing the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. We have developed innovative approaches to identify and address how consumers snack across different emotional and functional needs and occasions that we believe will allow us to meet their needs and identify new innovation and renovation opportunities. We plan to test, learn and scale new product offerings quickly to meet diverse and evolving local and global snacking demand. We believe our understanding of consumers’ behavior will continue to lead to our meeting more of their needs and the growing demand for snacks.
•Drive operational excellence. Our operational excellence and continuous improvement plans include a special focus on the consumer-facing areas of our business and optimizing our sales, marketing and customer service efforts. To drive productivity gains and cost improvements across our business, we also plan to continue leveraging our global shared services platform, driving greater efficiencies in our supply
chain and continuing to utilize Zero-Based Budgeting across our operations. We expect the improvements and efficiencies we drive will fuel our growth and continue to expand profit dollars. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to sustainably source key ingredients, reduce our end-to-end environmental impact and innovate our processes and packaging to reduce waste and promote recycling.
•Build a winning growth culture. To support the acceleration of our growth, we are becoming more agile, digital and local-consumer focused. We are giving our local teams more autonomy to drive commercial and innovation plans as they are closer to the needs and desires of consumers. We will continue to leverage the efficiency and scale of our regional operating units while empowering our local commercial operations to respond faster to changing consumer preferences and capitalize on growth opportunities. Our digital transformation program will also help to enable consumer demand and sales opportunities. We believe these operating and cultural shifts will help drive profitable top-line growth.
We run our business with a long-term perspective, and we believe the successful delivery of our strategic plan will drive top- and bottom-line growth and enable us to create long-term value for our shareholders.
We sell our products in over 150 countries and have operations in approximately 80 countries, including 133 manufacturing and processing facilities across 45 countries. The portion of our net revenues generated outside the United States was 73.2% in 2020, 74.4% in 2019 and 75.3% in 2018. For more information on our U.S. and non-U.S. operations, refer to Note 18, Segment Reporting; on our manufacturing and other facilities, refer to Item 2, Properties; and risks related to our operations outside the United States, see Item 1A, Risk Factors.
We also monitor our revenue growth across emerging and developed markets—
•Our emerging markets include our Latin America region in its entirety; the Asia, Middle East and Africa (“AMEA”) region, excluding Australia, New Zealand and Japan; and the following countries from the Europe region: Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltics and the East Adriatic countries.
•Our developed markets include the entire North America region, the Europe region excluding the countries included in the emerging markets definition, and Australia, New Zealand and Japan from the AMEA region.
Our operations and management structure are organized into four operating segments:
We manage our operations by region to leverage regional operating scale, manage different and changing business environments more effectively and pursue growth opportunities as they arise across our key markets. Our regional management teams have responsibility for the business, product categories and financial results in the regions.
We use segment operating income to evaluate segment performance and allocate resources. We believe it is appropriate to disclose this measure to help investors analyze segment performance and trends. For a definition and reconciliation of segment operating income to consolidated pre-tax earnings as well as other information on our segments, see Note 18, Segment Reporting.
Our segment net revenues for each of the last three years were:
| ||For the Years Ended December 31,|
| ||(in millions)|
|Latin America||$||2,477 ||$||3,018 ||$||3,202 |
|AMEA||5,740 ||5,770 ||5,729 |
|Europe||10,207 ||9,972 ||10,122 |
|North America||8,157 ||7,108 ||6,885 |
|$||26,581 ||$||25,868 ||$||25,938 |
Our segment operating income for each of the last three years was:
| ||For the Years Ended December 31,|
| ||(in millions, except percentages)|
|Segment operating income:|
|Latin America||$||189 ||4.3 ||%||$||341 ||8.1 ||%||$||410 ||11.1 ||%|
|AMEA||821 ||18.8 ||%||691 ||16.4 ||%||702 ||19.0 ||%|
|Europe||1,775 ||40.6 ||%||1,732 ||41.1 ||%||1,734 ||46.9 ||%|
|North America||1,587 ||36.3 ||%||1,451 ||34.4 ||%||849 ||23.0 ||%|
|$||4,372 ||100.0 ||%||$||4,215 ||100.0 ||%||$||3,695 ||100.0 ||%|
Please see Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for items affecting the comparability of results and a review of our operating results.
Our brands span five product categories:
•Biscuits (including cookies, crackers and salted snacks)
•Gum & candy
•Cheese & grocery
During 2020, our segments contributed to our net revenues in the following product categories:
| ||Percentage of 2020 Net Revenues by Product Category|
|Beverages||Cheese & Grocery||Total|
|Latin America||2.5 ||%||2.3 ||%||1.8 ||%||1.5 ||%||1.2 ||%||9.3 ||%|
|AMEA||7.7 ||%||7.6 ||%||2.6 ||%||2.0 ||%||1.7 ||%||21.6 ||%|
|Europe||11.4 ||%||19.9 ||%||2.3 ||%||0.4 ||%||4.4 ||%||38.4 ||%|
|North America||26.4 ||%||1.0 ||%||3.3 ||%||— ||%||— ||%||30.7 ||%|
|48.0 ||%||30.8 ||%||10.0 ||%||3.9 ||%||7.3 ||%||100.0 ||%|
Within our product categories, classes of products that contributed 10% or more to consolidated net revenues were:
| ||For the Years Ended December 31,|
|Biscuits - Cookies and crackers||39 ||%||37 ||%||36 ||%|
|Chocolate - Tablets, bars and other||31 ||%||32 ||%||32 ||%|
Demand for our products is generally balanced over the second and third quarters of the year and increases in the first and fourth quarters primarily because of holidays and other seasonal events. Depending on the timing of Easter, the holiday sales may shift between and affect net revenue in the first and second quarter.
We generally sell our products to supermarket chains, wholesalers, supercenters, club stores, mass merchandisers, distributors, convenience stores, gasoline stations, drug stores, value stores and other retail food outlets. No single customer accounted for 10% or more of our net revenues from continuing operations in 2020. Our five largest customers accounted for 17.5% and our ten largest customers accounted for 24.0% of net revenues from continuing operations in 2020. For a discussion of long-term demographics, consumer trends and demand, refer to our Financial Outlook within Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Distribution and Marketing
We distribute our products through direct store delivery, company-owned and satellite warehouses, distribution centers and other facilities. We use the services of independent sales offices and agents in some of our international locations. Through our global e-commerce organization and capabilities, we pursue online growth with partners in key markets around the world, including both pure e-tailers and omni-channel retailers. We continue to invest in both talent and digital capabilities. Our e-commerce channel strategies play a critical role in our ambition to be the global leader in snacking.
We conduct marketing efforts through three principal sets of activities: (i) consumer marketing and advertising including digital and social media, on-air, print, outdoor and other product promotions; (ii) consumer sales incentives such as coupons and rebates; and (iii) trade promotions to support price features, displays and other merchandising of our products by our customers.
Research, Development and Innovation
Our innovation and new product development objectives include continuous improvement in food safety and quality, growth through new products, superior consumer satisfaction and reduced production costs. Our innovation efforts focus on anticipating consumer demands and adapting quickly to changing market trends. Mindful snacking and sustainability are a significant focus of our current research and development initiatives. Our initiatives aim to accelerate our growth and margin dollars by addressing consumer needs and market trends and leveraging scalable innovation platforms, sustainability programs and initiatives as well as breakthrough technologies. We are focusing our technical research and development resources at 12 innovation technical centers around the globe to drive growth, creativity, greater effectiveness, improved efficiency and accelerated project delivery.
We face competition in all aspects of our business. Competitors include large multinational as well as numerous local and regional companies. Some competitors have different profit objectives and investment time horizons than we do and therefore may approach pricing and promotional decisions differently. We compete based on product quality, brand recognition and loyalty, service, product innovation, taste, convenience, nutritional value, the ability to identify and satisfy consumer preferences, effectiveness of digital and other sales and marketing, routes to market and distribution networks, promotional activity and price. Growing our market share or introducing a new product requires substantial research, development, advertising and promotional expenditures. We believe these investments lead to better products and stronger brands for the consumer and support our growth and market position.
Raw Materials and Packaging
We purchase and use large quantities of commodities, including cocoa, dairy, wheat, palm and other vegetable oils, sugar and other sweeteners, flavoring agents and nuts. In addition, we purchase and use significant quantities of packaging materials to package our products and natural gas, fuels and electricity for our factories and warehouses. We monitor worldwide supply, commodity cost and currency trends so we can sustainably and cost-effectively secure ingredients, packaging and fuel required for production.
A number of external factors such as changing weather patterns and conditions, commodity market conditions, currency fluctuations and the effects of governmental agricultural or other programs affect the cost and availability of raw materials and agricultural materials used in our products. We address higher commodity costs and currency impacts primarily through hedging, higher pricing and manufacturing and overhead cost control. We use hedging techniques to limit the impact of fluctuations in the cost of our principal raw materials; however, we may not be able to fully hedge against commodity cost changes, and our hedging strategies may not protect us from increases in specific raw material costs.
Due to factors noted above, the costs of our principal raw materials can fluctuate. At this time, we believe there will continue to be an adequate supply of the raw materials we use and that they will generally remain available from numerous sources. However, we continue to monitor the long-term impacts of climate change and related factors that could affect the availability or cost of raw materials, packaging and energy. For additional information on our commodity costs, refer to the Commodity Trends section within Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. For information on our ongoing sustainability efforts and programs, refer to Sustainability and Mindful Snacking below.
Human Capital Resources
We believe the strength of our workforce is one of the significant contributors to our success as a global company that leads with purpose. All our employees contribute to our success and are instrumental in driving strong financial performance. Attracting, developing and retaining the best talent globally with the right skills to drive our success is central to our long-term growth strategy. At the end of 2020, our workforce consisted of approximately 79,000, compared to approximately 80,000 at the end of 2019. At December 31, 2020, we had approximately 12,000 U.S. employees and approximately 67,000 employees outside the United States, with employees represented by labor unions or workers’ councils representing approximately 26% of our U.S. employees and approximately 63% of our employees outside the United States.
COVID-19 Response: We have been actively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact globally. Our highest priorities continue to be the safety of our employees and working with our employees and network of suppliers and customers to help maintain the global food supply chain. For more information on our COVID-19 workplace and community response, see our COVID-19 disclosures in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Workplace Safety: The health, well-being and safety of our employees, customers and communities is our highest priority. Every day we strive to make all our employees, contractors and visitors feel safe. We foster safety leadership throughout the organization as part of our comprehensive health, safety and environment management. Through ongoing communications, capability building, defined standards and safety measures, we strive to improve our safety performance each year.
Total Rewards: We are committed to equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or other personal characteristics. To deliver on that commitment, we benchmark and set pay ranges based on market data and consider various factors such as an employee’s role and experience, job location and performance. We also regularly review our compensation practices to promote fair and equitable pay.
With the support of an independent third-party expert in this field, we have conducted global total target cash (“TTC”) pay equity reviews for salaried employees comparing employees in the same pay grade within a country/area. Our last global analysis was in 2019 and encompassed 65 countries and over 32,000 employees. At the enterprise-wide level, our pay gap between male and female employees was less than 1% and decreasing through pay adjustments for employees identified during the review. In the United States, we also review TTC for salaried employees in the same pay grade by race/ethnicity (Asian, Black and Hispanic). The 2020 independent analysis found no systemic issues and no negative pay gap between non-white and white employees.
To foster a stronger sense of ownership and align the interests of employees with shareholders, we grant deferred stock units to eligible non-executive employees under our stock incentive program. Furthermore, to promote overall employee health and well-being, we provide access to medical and welfare benefits and offer programs to employees that support work-life balance as well as financial, physical and mental health resources. We also provide paid maternity and paternity time off for biological and adoptive parents.
We continue to evolve our programs to meet our employees’ health and wellness needs, which we believe is essential to attract and retain employees.
Diversity & Inclusion: We seek to create and sustain an inclusive and safe workplace for all of our employees. We want to reflect the diversity of our consumers and maximize the power and potential of our employees around the world to deliver stronger business performance. At the end of 2020, women held 38% of global management roles (defined as Associate Director and above) and 34% of executive leadership roles (defined as the management leadership team plus one level below). In September 2020, we announced our goal to double Black representation in our U.S. management team by 2024. For our U.S. leadership, Black employees held 3.2% of management roles (defined as Associate Director and above) at the end of 2020.
As a global employer, we recognize and value differences and are championing diversity and inclusion (“D&I”) around the world. We are creating local and global opportunities to further racial equity and economic empowerment by expanding our D&I initiatives across three key areas: colleagues, culture and communities. These opportunities include mobilizing our consumer-facing brands and leveraging our partnerships with agencies and advertising platforms to drive change, equity and inclusion. To further reinforce our commitment to D&I, we have included specific D&I metrics as a part of our strategic scorecard within our annual incentive plan for the CEO and other senior leaders. The scorecard is used consistently across the Company at both the corporate and region level and is linked directly to the three pillars of our strategy – growth, execution and culture.
Talent Management: Maintaining a robust pipeline of talent is crucial to our ongoing success and is a key aspect of succession planning efforts across the organization. Our leadership and people teams are responsible for attracting and retaining top talent by facilitating an environment where employees feel supported and encouraged in their professional and personal development. Specifically, we promote employee development by reviewing strategic positions regularly and identifying potential internal candidates to fill those roles, evaluating job skill sets to identify competency gaps and creating developmental plans to facilitate employee professional growth. We commit to investing in our employees through training and development programs, on the job experiences, coaching, as well as tuition reimbursement for a majority of our employees in the United States to promote continued professional growth. Additionally, we understand the importance of maintaining competitive compensation, benefits and appropriate training that provides growth, developmental opportunities and multiple career paths within the Company.
Employee Engagement: We conduct confidential engagement surveys of our global workforce that are administered and analyzed by an independent third-party. Aggregate survey results are reviewed by executive officers and the Board of Directors. We create action plans at global, business unit and functional levels as well as for individual managers with direct reports who participate in the survey. By acting on results both at an aggregate enterprise level and a department/business/work group level, and by analyzing our scores compared to both global and internal benchmarks, we have been able to enhance our culture and improve our overall engagement levels.
High impact initiatives including flexible working and proactive support to our people throughout the pandemic have been and will continue to be important drivers of engagement. We also have focused capability building initiatives on agile ways of working and streamlining decision making processes to drive engagement. We are building a winning growth culture that more effectively leverages local commercial expertise and invests in talent and key capabilities. This enables the Company to move with greater speed and agility.
For additional detail on D&I, our workplace safety practices and measurements and workplace wellness, please see our 2020 Snacking Made Right report, which will be published on our website in May 2021.
Sustainability and Mindful Snacking
By living our purpose to empower people to snack right, we believe we can continue to have a positive impact on the lives of our consumers and the world around us. Our mindful snacking strategy aims to encourage consumers to snack with moderation through portion control offerings and labeling, and we continue to evolve our portfolio to meet consumers’ needs. We have been focused on sustainability for many years and we continue to enhance our sustainability goals and reporting.
In May 2020, we issued our 2019 Snacking Made Right report, which includes expanded reporting on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) topics and highlights our progress toward our sustainability and nutrition-related goals. We also released an ESG disclosure data sheet that outlines our alignment with the
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”) reporting frameworks.
We also participate in the CDP Climate and Water annual disclosure survey and continue to work to reduce our carbon and water footprints. We are committed to continue this and other related work in the areas of sustainable resources and agriculture, mindful snacking, nutrition, community partnerships and safety of our products and people.
Our 2025 sustainability and mindful snacking goals include:
•Minimizing food waste, end-to-end CO2 emissions and priority water usage by 2025
•Designing all packaging to be recyclable by 2025 to further reduce our environmental footprint
•Scaling our Cocoa Life sustainability program so that by 2025, Cocoa Life will produce 100% of the cocoa volume we require for our chocolate brands
•Growing portion control products to 20 percent of snacks net revenue by 2025
•Including portion amounts and mindful snacking information on all packages globally by 2025
The Governance, Membership and Public Affairs Committee of our Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing our sustainable snacking and mindful snacking strategies. Our goals are part of our strategic planning process, and therefore, progress and key activities are regularly reported to the Board of Directors and the business leadership teams. Climate change, CO2 emissions, energy, well-being and other sustainability matters are key focus areas in our strategy.
We have been recognized for our ongoing economic, environmental and social contributions. Each year since we created Mondelēz International in 2012 we have been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (“DJSI”) – World and North American Indices. The DJSI selects the top 10% of global companies and top 20% of North American companies based on an extensive review of financial and sustainability programs within each industry. We are at the 97th percentile of our industry according to the latest DJSI report.
Our intellectual property rights (including trademarks, patents, copyrights, registered designs, proprietary trade secrets, recipes, technology and know-how) are material to our business.
We own numerous trademarks and patents in many countries around the world. Depending on the country, trademarks remain valid for as long as they are in use or their registration status is maintained. Trademark registrations generally are renewable for fixed terms. We also have patents for a number of current and potential products. Our patents cover inventions ranging from packaging techniques to processes relating to specific products and to the products themselves. Our issued patents extend for varying periods according to the date of patent application filing or grant and the legal term of patents in the various countries where patent protection is obtained. The actual protection afforded by a patent, which can vary from country to country, depends upon the type of patent, the scope of its coverage as determined by the patent office or courts in the country, and the availability of legal remedies in the country. While our patent portfolio is material to our business, the loss of one patent or a group of related patents would not have a material adverse effect on our business.
From time to time, we grant third parties licenses to use one or more of our trademarks, patents and/or proprietary trade secrets in connection with the manufacture, sale or distribution of third-party products. Similarly, we sell some products under brands, patents and/or proprietary trade secrets we license from third parties. In our agreement with Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (which is now part of The Kraft Heinz Company), we each granted the other party various licenses to use certain of our and their respective intellectual property rights in named jurisdictions following the spin-off of our North American grocery business.
Our food products and ingredients are subject to local, national and multinational regulations related to labeling, health and nutrition claims, packaging, pricing, marketing and advertising, data privacy and related areas. In addition, various jurisdictions regulate our operations by licensing and inspecting our manufacturing plants and facilities, enforcing standards for select food products, grading food products, and regulating trade practices related to the sale and pricing of our food products. Many of the food commodities we use in our operations are subject to government agricultural policy and intervention. These policies have substantial effects on prices and supplies and
are subject to periodic governmental and administrative review. In addition, increased attention to environmental and social issues in industry supply chains has led to developing different types of regulation in many countries. The lack of a harmonized approach can lead to uneven scrutiny or enforcement, which can impact our operations.
Examples of laws and regulations that affect our business include workplace safety regulations; selective food taxes; labeling requirements such as front-of-pack labeling based on nutrient profiles; sales or media and marketing restrictions such as those on promotions or advertising products with specified nutrient profiles on certain channels or platforms or during certain hours of the day; sanctions on sales or sourcing of raw materials; potential withdrawal of cross-border trade concessions as retaliation or imposition of new border barriers for other reasons; changes in the corporate tax policies of the United States and other countries; and packaging taxes. In addition, at least 25 countries in the European Union have implemented extended producer responsibility (“EPR”) policies as part of national packaging waste policies that make manufacturers responsible for the cost of recycling food and beverage packaging after consumers use it. These range from mandatory regulations to voluntary agreements between government and industry to voluntary industry initiatives. EPR policies are also being contemplated in other jurisdictions around the world, including certain states in the United States.
Throughout the countries in which we do business, we are subject to local, national and multinational environmental laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment. We have programs across our business units designed to meet applicable environmental compliance requirements. In the United States, the laws and regulations include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. We are also subject to legislation designed to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases, and many countries are considering introducing carbon taxes that could increase our production costs or those of our suppliers.
We continue to monitor developments in laws and regulations. Also refer to Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies – Currency Translation and Highly Inflationary Accounting, for additional information on government regulations and currency-related impacts on our operations in the United Kingdom, Argentina and other countries.
Information about our Executive Officers
The following are our executive officers as of February 5, 2021:
|Dirk Van de Put||60||Chief Executive Officer|
|Luca Zaramella||51||Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer|
|Paulette Alviti||50||Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer|
|Maurizio Brusadelli||52||Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa|
|Vinzenz P. Gruber||55||Executive Vice President and President, Europe|
|Robin S. Hargrove||55||Executive Vice President, Research, Development and Quality|
|Sandra MacQuillan||54||Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer|
Gerhard W. Pleuhs
Executive Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel (retiring April 2021)
|Laura Stein||59||Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate & Legal Affairs|
|Gustavo C. Valle||56||Executive Vice President and President, Latin America|
|Henry Glendon (Glen) Walter IV||52||Executive Vice President and President, North America|
Mr. Van de Put became Chief Executive Officer and a director in November 2017 and became Chairman of the Board of Directors in April 2018. He formerly served as President and Chief Executive Officer of McCain Foods Limited, a multinational frozen food provider, from July 2011 to November 2017 and as its Chief Operating Officer from May 2010 to July 2011. Mr. Van de Put served as President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Over-the-Counter, Consumer Health Division of Novartis AG, a global healthcare company, from 2009 to 2010. Prior to that, he worked for 24 years in a variety of leadership positions for several global food and beverage providers, including Danone SA, The Coca-Cola Company and Mars, Incorporated.
Mr. Zaramella became Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in August 2018. He previously served as Senior Vice President Corporate Finance, CFO Commercial and Treasurer from June 2016 to July 2018. He also served as Interim Lead Finance North America from April to November 2017. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller from December 2014 to August 2016 and Senior Vice President, Finance of Mondelēz Europe from October 2011 to November 2014. Mr. Zaramella joined Mondelēz International in 1996.
Ms. Alviti became Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (now Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer) in June 2018. Before joining Mondelēz International, Ms. Alviti served as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Foot Locker, Inc., a leading global retailer of athletically inspired shoes and apparel, from June 2013 to May 2018. Prior to that, Ms. Alviti spent 17 years at PepsiCo, Inc., a global snack and beverage company, in various leadership roles, including Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Asia, Middle East, Africa.
Mr. Brusadelli became Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific in January 2016 and Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa in October 2016. He previously served as President Biscuits Business, South East Asia, Japan and Sales Asia Pacific from September 2015 to December 2015, President Markets and Sales Asia Pacific from September 2014 to September 2015 and President United Kingdom, Ireland and Nordics from September 2012 to August 2014. Prior to that, Mr. Brusadelli held various positions of increasing responsibility. Mr. Brusadelli joined Mondelēz International in 1993.
Mr. Gruber became Executive Vice President and President, Europe in January 2019. He previously served as President, Western Europe from October 2016 to December 2018 and President, Chocolate, Europe from August 2011 to September 2016. Mr. Gruber was formerly employed by Mondelēz International, in various capacities, from 1989 until 2000 and resumed his employment in September 2007.
Mr. Hargrove became Executive Vice President, Research, Development, Quality and Innovation in April 2015 and as of January 2019 serves as Executive Vice President, Research, Development and Quality. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President, Research, Development & Quality for Mondelēz Europe from January 2013 to
March 2015. Before joining Mondelēz International, Mr. Hargrove worked at PepsiCo, Inc., a global snack and beverage company, for 19 years in a variety of leadership positions, most recently as Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Europe from December 2006 to December 2012.
Ms. MacQuillan became Executive Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain (now Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer) in June 2019. Before joining Mondelēz International, Ms. MacQuillan served as Chief Supply Chain Officer and Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a global manufacturer of personal care consumer products, from April 2015 to June 2019. Prior to that, Ms. MacQuillan spent more than 20 years at Mars, Incorporated, a global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food and other food products, in various leadership roles, including Global Vice President, Supply for Mars Global Petcare.
Mr. Pleuhs became Executive Vice President and General Counsel in April 2012 and as of May 2019 serves as Executive Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel. In this role, Mr. Pleuhs oversees the legal, compliance, security, corporate and governance affairs functions within Mondelēz International. He has served in various positions of increasing responsibility since joining Mondelēz International in 1990. Mr. Pleuhs has a law degree from the University of Kiel, Germany and is licensed to practice law in Germany and admitted as house counsel in Illinois. Mr. Pleuhs will retire from Mondelēz International in April 2021.
Ms. Stein became Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate & Legal Affairs on January 11, 2021. Before joining Mondelēz International, Ms. Stein spent 15 years at The Clorox Company, a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer and professional products, most recently as Executive Vice President – General Counsel and Corporate Affairs from February 2016 to December 2020. She also served as Executive Vice President – General Counsel from February 2015 to February 2016 and as Senior Vice President – General Counsel from January 2005 to February 2015.
Mr. Valle became Executive Vice President and President, Latin America in February 2020. Before joining Mondelēz International, Mr. Valle served as Chief Executive Officer of Axia Plus, LLC, a management consulting firm, from February 2018 to January 2020. Prior to that he spent more than 20 years at Groupe Danone SA, a multinational provider of packaged water, dairy and baby food products, in a variety of leadership positions, most recently as Executive Vice President, Dairy Division Worldwide, from January 2015 to January 2018, and Vice President Dairy Division Europe, from January 2014 until December 2014.
Mr. Walter became Executive Vice President and President, North America in November 2017. Before joining Mondelēz International, Mr. Walter worked at The Coca-Cola Company, a global beverage company, in a variety of leadership positions, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Industries China from February 2014 to October 2017 and President and Chief Operating Officer of Cola-Cola Refreshments in North America from January 2013 to February 2014.
Ethics and Governance
We adopted the Mondelēz International Code of Conduct, which qualifies as a code of ethics under Item 406 of Regulation S-K. The code applies to all of our employees, including our principal executive officer, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer or controller, and persons performing similar functions. Our code of ethics is available free of charge on our web site at www.mondelezinternational.com/investors/corporate-governance and will be provided free of charge to any shareholder submitting a written request to: Corporate Secretary, Mondelēz International, Inc., 905 West Fulton Market, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60607. We will disclose any waiver we grant to an executive officer or director under our code of ethics, or certain amendments to the code of ethics, on our web site at www.mondelezinternational.com/investors/corporate-governance.
In addition, we adopted Corporate Governance Guidelines, charters for each of the Board’s four standing committees and the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Non-Employee Directors. All of these materials are available on our web site at www.mondelezinternational.com/investors/corporate-governance and will be provided free of charge to any shareholder requesting a copy by writing to: Corporate Secretary, Mondelēz International, Inc., 905 West Fulton Market, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60607.
Our Internet address is www.mondelezinternational.com. Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), are available free of charge as soon as possible after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). You can access our filings with the SEC by visiting www.sec.gov or our website: ir.mondelezinternational.com/sec-filings. The information on our web site is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or incorporated into any other filings we make with the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
You should carefully read the following discussion of significant factors, events and uncertainties when evaluating our business and the forward-looking information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The events and consequences discussed in these risk factors could materially and adversely affect our business, operating results, liquidity and financial condition. While we believe we have identified and discussed below the key risk factors affecting our business, these risk factors do not identify all the risks we face, and there may be additional risks and uncertainties that we do not presently know or that we do not currently believe to be significant that may have a material adverse effect on our business, performance or financial condition in the future.
Strategic and Operational Risks
Global or regional health pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, could negatively impact our business operations, financial performance and results of operations.
Our business and financial results could be negatively impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 or other pandemics or epidemics. The severity, magnitude and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain, rapidly changing and hard to predict. In 2020, COVID-19 significantly impacted economic activity and markets around the world, and it could negatively impact our business in numerous ways, including but not limited to those outlined below:
•The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted and could continue to result in lower revenues in some of our emerging market countries that have a higher concentration of traditional trade outlets (such as small family-run stores), as well as in our travel retail (such as international duty-free stores) and foodservice businesses. We are unable to predict how long these trends will continue or whether they will worsen.
•In addition, sales of some of our products for in-home consumption in some markets and channels, such as the United States and some European markets and modern trade, increased in 2020. We are unable to predict how long this sustained demand will last or how significant it will be.
•The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted and could materially disrupt our global supply chain, operations and routes to market or those of our suppliers, their suppliers, or our co-manufacturers or distributors. The outbreak has also necessitated increased expenditures to secure the safety and effectiveness of our personnel and operations. Disruptions or our failure to effectively respond to them could increase product or distribution costs or cause delays in delivering or an inability to deliver products to our customers. For example, we experienced temporary disruptions in operations in some of our emerging markets such as India and Nigeria in the first half of 2020.
•Disruptions or uncertainties related to the COVID-19 outbreak for a sustained period of time could result in delays or modifications to our strategic plans and initiatives and hinder our ability to achieve our objective to reduce our operating cost structure in both our supply chain and overhead costs through our Simplify to Grow Program.
•Illness, travel restrictions, absenteeism or other workforce disruptions have affected and could materially negatively affect our supply chain, manufacturing, distribution or other business processes.
•Government or regulatory responses to pandemics could negatively impact our business. Mandatory lockdowns or other restrictions on operations in some countries temporarily disrupted our ability to distribute our products in some markets. Continuation or expansion of these disruptions could materially adversely impact our operations and results.
•Commodity costs have become more volatile due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We expect continued commodity cost volatility, and our commodity hedging activities cannot fully offset this volatility.
•Initially during the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. dollar appreciated materially against other currencies in the countries in which we operate, resulting in currency translation losses. If the U.S. dollar were to appreciate
again against some or all of those same currencies, the resulting currency translation losses, along with currency transaction losses, could adversely affect our reported results of operations and financial condition.
•The COVID-19 outbreak initially increased volatility and pricing in the capital markets and commercial paper markets, and volatility may increase again as COVID-19 evolves. We might not be able to continue to access preferred sources of liquidity when we would like or on terms we find acceptable, and our borrowing costs could increase. An economic or credit crisis could occur and impair credit availability and our ability to raise capital when needed. A disruption in the financial markets may have a negative effect on our derivative counterparties and could impair our banking or other business partners, on whom we rely for access to capital and as counterparties for a number of our derivative contracts.
These and other impacts of the COVID-19 or other global or regional health pandemics or epidemics could have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in the risk factors below, including but not limited to those relating to our reputation, brands, consumer preferences, supply chain, product sales, results of operations or financial condition. We might not be able to predict or respond to all impacts on a timely basis to prevent near- or long-term adverse impacts to our results. The ultimate impact of these disruptions also depends on events beyond our knowledge or control, including the duration and severity of the COVID-19 and other outbreaks and actions taken by parties other than us to respond to them. Any of these disruptions could have a negative impact on our business operations, financial performance and results of operations, which impact could be material. Additionally, COVID-19 may also materially adversely affect our operating results and financial position in a manner that is not currently known to us or that we do not currently consider to present significant risks to our operations.
We operate in a highly competitive industry and we face risks related to the execution of our strategy and our timely response to channel shifts and pricing and other competitive pressures.
The food and snacking industry is highly competitive. Our principal competitors include food, snack and beverage companies that operate in multiple geographic areas and numerous local and regional companies. Failure to effectively respond to challenges from our competitors could adversely affect our business.
Competitor and customer pressures require that we timely and effectively respond to changes in distribution channels and technological developments that may require changes in our prices. These pressures could affect our ability to increase prices in response to commodity and other cost increases. Failure to effectively and timely assess new or developing trends, technological advancements or changes in distribution methods and set proper pricing or effective trade incentives will negatively impact our operating results, achievement of our strategic and financial goals and our ability to capitalize on new revenue or value-producing opportunities. The rapid growth of some channels, in particular in e-commerce which has expanded significantly following the outbreak of COVID-19, may impact our current operations or strategies more quickly than we planned for, create consumer price deflation, alter the buying behavior of consumers or disrupt our retail customer relationships. We may need to increase or reallocate spending on existing and new distribution channels and technologies, marketing, advertising and new product innovation to protect or increase revenues, market share and brand significance. These expenditures may not be successful, including those related to our e-commerce and other technology-focused efforts, and might not result in trade and consumer acceptance of our efforts, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. These new distribution channels as well as growing opportunities to utilize external manufacturers lower barriers to entry and allow smaller competitors to more effectively gain market share. Additionally, if we reduce prices but cannot increase sales volumes, or our labor or other costs increase but we cannot increase prices to offset those changes, our financial condition and results of operations will suffer.
During 2020, we continued to operate under our strategy, which focuses on accelerating consumer-centric and volume-driven growth, operational excellence driven by cost discipline and continuous operational improvement including in areas like sales execution, and building a winning growth culture with a “local first” commercial approach. Failure to achieve these objectives or effectively operate under our strategy in a way that minimizes disruptions to our business could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Promoting and protecting our reputation and brand image and health is essential to our business success.
Our success depends on our ability to maintain and enhance our brands, expand to new geographies and new distribution platforms, including e-commerce, and evolve our portfolio with new product offerings that meet consumer expectations.
We seek to strengthen our brands through investments in our product quality, product renovation, innovation and marketing investments, including consumer-relevant advertising, digital transformation and consumer promotions. Failure to effectively address the continuing global focus on consumer-centric well-being, including changing consumer acceptance of certain ingredients, nutritional expectations of our products, and the sustainability of our ingredients, our supply chain and our packaging could adversely affect our brands. Increased negative attention from the media, governments, shareholders and other stakeholders in these areas as well as on the role of food marketing and other environmental, social or governance practices could adversely affect our brand image. Undue caution or inaction on our part in addressing these challenges and trends could weaken our competitive position. Such pressures could also lead to stricter regulations, industry self-regulation that is unevenly adopted among companies, and increased focus on food and snacking marketing practices. Increasing legal or regulatory restrictions on our labeling, advertising and consumer promotions, such as age-based restrictions on sales of products with certain nutritional profiles enacted in some states in Mexico and other restrictions being considered in the United Kingdom, or our response to those restrictions, could limit our efforts to maintain, extend and expand our brands. Moreover, adverse publicity, regulatory developments or legal action against us, our employees or our licensees related to product quality and safety, where and how we manufacture our products, environmental risks, human and workplace rights across our supply chain, or antitrust, anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance could damage our reputation and brand health. Such actions could undermine our customers’ and shareholders’ confidence and reduce demand for our products, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or these matters are immaterial to our operations. Our product sponsorship relationships, including those with celebrity spokespersons, influencers or group affiliations, could also subject us to negative publicity.
In addition, our success in maintaining and enhancing our brand image depends on our ability to anticipate change and adapt to a rapidly changing marketing and media environment, including our increasing reliance on established and emerging social media and online platforms, digital and mobile dissemination of marketing and advertising campaigns, targeted marketing and the increasing accessibility and speed of dissemination of information. A variety of legal and regulatory restrictions limit how and to whom we market our products. These restrictions may limit our brand renovation, innovation, marketing and promotion plans, particularly as social media and the communications environment continue to evolve. Negative posts or comments about Mondelēz International, our brands or our employees on social media or web sites (whether factual or not) or security breaches related to use of our social media accounts and failure to respond effectively to these posts, comments or activities could damage our reputation and brand image across the various regions in which we operate. Our brands may be associated with or appear alongside harmful content before these platforms or our own social media monitoring can detect this risk to our brand health. In addition, we might fail to invest sufficiently in maintaining, extending and expanding our brands, our marketing efforts might not achieve desired results and we might be required to recognize impairment charges on our brands or related intangible assets or goodwill. Furthermore, third parties may sell counterfeit or imitation versions of our products that are inferior or pose safety risks. When consumers confuse these counterfeit products for our products or have a bad experience with the counterfeit brand, they might refrain from purchasing our brands in the future, which could harm our brand image and sales. Failure to successfully maintain and enhance our reputation and brand health could materially and adversely affect our company and product brands as well as our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We must correctly predict, identify and interpret changes in consumer preferences and demand and offer new and improved products that meet those changes.
Consumer preferences for food and snacking products change continually. Our success depends on our ability to predict, identify and interpret the tastes, dietary habits, packaging, sales channel and other preferences of consumers around the world and to offer products that appeal to these preferences in the places and ways consumers want to shop. There may be further shifts in the relative size of shopping channels in addition to the increasing role of e-commerce for consumers. Our success relies upon managing this complexity to promote and bring our products to consumers effectively. Moreover, weak economic conditions, recession, equity market volatility or other factors, such as global or local pandemics and severe or unusual weather events, affect consumer preferences and demand, such as the increased demand for biscuits and decreased demand for gum since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Failure to offer products that appeal to consumers or to correctly judge consumer
demand for our products will impact our ability to meet our growth targets, and our sales and market share could decrease and our profitability could suffer.
We must distinguish between short-term fads and trends and long-term changes in consumer preferences. When we do not accurately predict which shifts in consumer preferences or category trends will be long-term or fail to introduce new and improved products to satisfy changing preferences, our sales can be adversely affected. In addition, because of our varied and geographically diverse consumer base, we must be responsive to local consumer needs, including with respect to when and how consumers snack and their desire for premium or value offerings, provide an array of products that satisfy the broad spectrum of consumer preferences and use marketing and advertising to reach consumers at the right time with the right message. Failure to expand our product offerings successfully across product categories, rapidly develop products in faster growing and more profitable categories or reach consumers in efficient and effective ways leveraging data and analytics could cause demand for our products to decrease and our profitability to suffer.
Negative perceptions concerning the health, environmental and social implications of certain food products, ingredients, packaging materials, sourcing or production methods could influence consumer preferences and acceptance of some of our products and marketing programs. For example, consumers have increasingly focused on well-being, including reducing sodium and added sugar consumption, as well as the source and authenticity of the foods they consume. Continuing to expand our well-being offerings and refining the ingredient and nutrition profiles of existing products is important to our growth, as is maintaining focus on ethical sourcing and supply chain management opportunities to address evolving consumer preferences. In addition, consumer preferences differ by region, and we must monitor and adjust our use of ingredients and other activities to respond to these regional preferences. We might be unsuccessful in our efforts to effectively respond to changing consumer preferences and social expectations. Continued negative perceptions or failure to satisfy consumer preferences could materially and adversely affect our reputation, brands, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to risks from operating globally.
We are a global company and generated 73.2% of our 2020 net revenues, 74.4% of our 2019 net revenues and 75.3% of our 2018 net revenues outside the United States. We manufacture and market our products in over 150 countries and have operations in approximately 80 countries. Therefore, we are subject to risks inherent in global operations. Those risks include:
•compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, including anti-bribery laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”);
•the imposition of increased or new tariffs, sanctions, quotas, trade barriers, price floors or similar restrictions on our sales or key commodities like cocoa, potential changes in U.S. trade programs and trade relations with other countries, or regulations, taxes or policies that might negatively affect our sales or profitability;
•compliance with antitrust and competition laws, trade laws, data privacy laws, anti-bribery laws, human rights laws and a variety of other local, national and multinational regulations and laws in multiple regimes;
•currency devaluations or fluctuations in currency values, including in developing markets such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Pakistan as well as in developed markets such as the United Kingdom and countries within the European Union. This includes events like applying highly inflationary accounting as we did for our Argentinean subsidiaries beginning in July 2018;
•changes in capital controls, including currency exchange controls, government currency policies or other limits on our ability to import raw materials or finished product into various countries or repatriate cash from outside the United States;
•increased sovereign risk, such as default by or deterioration in the economies and credit ratings of governments, particularly in our Latin America and AMEA regions;
•changes or inconsistencies in local regulations and laws, the uncertainty of enforcement of remedies in non-U.S. jurisdictions, and foreign ownership restrictions and the potential for nationalization or expropriation of property or other resources;
•varying abilities to enforce intellectual property and contractual rights;
•discriminatory or conflicting fiscal policies;
•greater risk of uncollectible accounts and longer collection cycles; and
•design, implementation and use of effective control environment processes across our diverse operations and employee base.
In addition, political and economic changes or volatility, geopolitical regional conflicts, terrorist activity, political unrest, civil strife, acts of war, government shutdowns, travel or immigration restrictions, tariffs and other trade restrictions, public health risks or pandemics including COVID-19, public corruption, expropriation and other economic or political uncertainties, including inaccuracies in our assumptions about these factors, could interrupt and negatively affect our business operations or customer demand. High unemployment or the slowdown in economic growth in some markets could constrain consumer spending. Declining consumer purchasing power could result in loss of market share and adversely impact our profitability. Continued instability in the banking and governmental sectors of certain countries or the dynamics and uncertainties associated with the transition period following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (“Brexit”) could have a negative effect on our business. (See below and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Financial Outlook – Brexit for more information.)
All of these factors could result in increased costs or decreased revenues and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and our relationships with customers, suppliers and employees in the short or long term.
Our operations in certain emerging markets expose us to political, economic and regulatory risks.
Our growth strategy depends in part on our ability to expand our operations in emerging markets, including among others Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Argentina, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and Ukraine. However, some emerging markets have greater political, economic and currency volatility and greater vulnerability to infrastructure and labor disruptions than more established markets. In many countries, particularly those with emerging economies, engaging in business practices prohibited by laws and regulations with extraterritorial reach, such as the FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act, or local anti-bribery laws may be more common. These laws generally prohibit companies and their employees, contractors or agents from making improper payments to government officials, including in connection with obtaining permits or engaging in other actions necessary to do business. Failure to comply with these laws could subject us to civil and criminal penalties that could materially and adversely affect our reputation, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, competition in emerging markets is increasing as our competitors grow their global operations and low-cost local manufacturers improve and expand their production capacities. Our success in emerging markets is critical to achieving our growth strategy. Failure to successfully increase our business in emerging markets and manage associated political, economic and regulatory risks could adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our use of information technology and third-party service providers exposes us to cybersecurity breaches and other business disruptions.
We use information technology and third-party service providers to support our global business processes and activities, including supporting critical business operations such as manufacturing and distribution; communicating with our suppliers, customers and employees; maintaining effective accounting processes and financial and disclosure controls; executing mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions; conducting research and development activities; meeting regulatory, legal and tax requirements; and executing various digital marketing and consumer promotion activities. Global shared service centers managed by third parties provide an increasing amount of services important to conducting our business, including a number of accounting, internal control, human resources and computing functions.
Continuity of business applications and services has been, and may in the future be, disrupted by events such as infection by viruses or malware, including the June 2017 malware incident that affected a significant portion of our global sales, distribution and financial networks (the “malware incident”); other cybersecurity attacks; issues with or errors in systems’ maintenance or security; power outages; hardware or software failures; denial of service attacks; telecommunication failures; natural disasters; terrorist attacks; and other catastrophic occurrences. Our use of new and emerging technologies such as cloud-based services and mobile applications continues to evolve, presenting new and additional risks in managing access to our data, relying on third-parties to manage and safeguard data, ensuring access to our systems and availability of third-party systems.
Cybersecurity breaches of our or third-party systems, whether from circumvention of security systems, denial-of-service attacks or other cyberattacks such as hacking, phishing attacks, computer viruses, ransomware or malware, employee or insider error, malfeasance, social engineering, physical breaches or other actions may cause
confidential information belonging to us or our employees, customers, consumers, partners, suppliers, or governmental or regulatory authorities to be misused or breached. These risks could be magnified given the increased number of employees, contractors and others working outside of offices during the COVID-19 pandemic. When risks such as these materialize, the need for us to coordinate with various third-party service providers and for third-party service providers to coordinate amongst themselves might increase challenges and costs to resolve related issues. Additionally, new initiatives, such as those related to e-commerce and direct sales, that increase the amount of confidential information that we process and maintain increase our potential exposure from a cybersecurity breach. If our controls, disaster recovery and business continuity plans or those of our third-party providers do not effectively respond to or resolve the issues related to any such disruptions in a timely manner, our product sales, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected, and we might experience delays in reporting our financial results, loss of intellectual property and damage to our reputation or brands.
We continue to devote focused resources to network security, backup and disaster recovery, enhanced training and other security measures to protect our systems and data, such as advanced email protection to reduce the likelihood of credential thefts and electronic fraud attempts. We also focus on enhancing the monitoring and detection of threats in our environment, including but not limited to the manufacturing environment and operational technologies, as well as adjusting information security controls based on the updated threat. However, security measures cannot provide absolute security or guarantee that we will be successful in preventing or responding to every breach or disruption on a timely basis. Due to the constantly evolving and complex nature of security threats, we cannot predict the form and impact of any future incident, and the cost and operational expense of implementing, maintaining and enhancing protective measures to guard against increasingly complex and sophisticated cyber threats could increase significantly.
We regularly transfer data across national borders to conduct our operations, and we are subject to a variety of continuously evolving and developing laws and regulations in numerous jurisdictions regarding privacy, data protection and data security, including those related to the collection, storage, handling, use, disclosure, transfer and security of personal data. Privacy and data protection laws may be interpreted and applied differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may create inconsistent or conflicting requirements. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which has greatly increased the jurisdictional reach of E.U. law and became effective in May 2018, added a broad array of requirements for handling personal data including the public disclosure of significant data breaches, and imposes substantial penalties for non-compliance of up to 4% of global annual revenue for the preceding financial year in addition to potential restrictions on data transfer and processing. The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which became effective in January 2020, imposed new responsibilities on us for the handling, disclosure and deletion of personal information for consumers who reside in California. The CCPA permits California to assess potentially significant fines for violating CCPA and creates a right for individuals to bring class action suits seeking damages for violations. In addition, the California Privacy Rights Act ballot initiative passed in November 2020 will create a new agency dedicated to data privacy that will be required to implement more stringent privacy regulations by January 1, 2023. Our efforts to comply with GDPR, CCPA and other privacy and data protection laws may impose significant costs and challenges that are likely to increase over time, and we could incur substantial penalties or be subject to litigation related to violation of existing or future data privacy laws and regulations.
We are subject to risks from unanticipated business disruptions.
We manufacture and source products and materials on a global scale. We utilize an integrated supply chain – a complex network of suppliers and material needs, owned and leased manufacturing locations, co-manufacturing locations, distribution networks, shared service delivery centers and information systems that support our ability to provide our products to our customers consistently. Factors that are hard to predict or beyond our control, like weather (including any potential effects of climate change), natural disasters, water availability, supply and commodity shortages, terrorism, political unrest, cybersecurity breaches, generalized labor unrest, government shutdowns or health pandemics such as COVID-19 could damage or disrupt our operations or those of our suppliers, their suppliers, or our co-manufacturers or distributors. Failure to effectively prepare for and respond to disruptions in our operations, for example, by not finding alternative suppliers or replacing capacity at key or sole manufacturing or distribution locations or by not quickly repairing damage to our information, production or supply systems, can cause delays in delivering or the inability to deliver products to our customers as we experienced in connection with the malware incident, and the quality and safety of our products might be negatively affected. The occurrence of a material or extended disruption may cause us to lose our customers’ or business partners’ confidence or suffer damage to our reputation, and long-term consumer demand for our products could decline.
Some risks are difficult or impossible to insure through the insurance programs we use to transfer many of these risks, and the timing of insurance recoveries may not match the timing of our financial loss. In addition, we are subject to risk related to our own execution. This includes risk of disruption caused by operational error including fire, explosion or accidental contamination as well as our inability to achieve our strategic objectives due to capability or technology deficiencies related to our ongoing reconfiguration of our supply chain to drive efficiencies and fuel growth. Further, our ability to supply multiple markets with a streamlined manufacturing footprint may be negatively impacted by portfolio complexity, significant changes in trade policies, changes in volume produced and changes to regulatory restrictions or labor-related or other constraints on our ability to adjust production capacity in the markets in which we operate. These events could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Commodity and other input prices are volatile and may increase or decrease significantly or availability of commodities may become constrained.
We purchase and use large quantities of commodities, including cocoa, dairy, wheat, palm and other vegetable oils, sugar and other sweeteners, flavoring agents and nuts. In addition, we purchase and use significant quantities of product packaging materials, natural gas, fuel and electricity for our factories and warehouses, and we also incur expenses in connection with the transportation and delivery of our products. Costs of raw materials, other supplies and services and energy are volatile and fluctuate due to conditions that are difficult to predict. These conditions include global competition for resources, currency fluctuations, geopolitical conditions or conflicts, tariffs or other trade barriers, government intervention to introduce living income premiums or similar requirements such as those announced in 2019 in two of the main cocoa-growing countries, severe weather, the potential longer-term consequences of climate change on agricultural productivity, crop disease or pests, water risk, health pandemics including COVID-19, forest fires, consumer or industrial demand, and changes in governmental environmental or trade policy and regulations, alternative energy and agricultural programs. Increased government intervention and consumer or activist responses caused by increased focus on climate change, deforestation, water, plastic waste, animal welfare and human rights concerns and other risks associated with the global food system could adversely affect our or our suppliers’ reputation and business and our ability to procure the materials we need to operate our business. Some commodities are grown by smallholder farmers who might not be able to invest to increase productivity or adapt to changing conditions. Although we monitor our exposure to commodity prices and hedge against input price increases, we cannot fully hedge against changes in commodity costs, and our hedging strategies may not protect us from increases in specific raw material costs. Continued volatility in the prices of commodities and other supplies we purchase or changes in the types of commodities we purchase as we continue to evolve our product and packaging portfolio could increase or decrease the costs of our products, and our profitability could suffer as a result. Moreover, increases in the price of our products, including increases to cover higher input, packaging and transportation costs, may result in lower sales volumes, while decreases in input costs could require us to lower our prices and thereby affect our revenues, profits or margins. Likewise, constraints in the supply or availability of key commodities and necessary services such as transportation may limit our ability to grow our net revenues and earnings. If our mitigation activities are not effective, if we are unable to price to cover increased costs or must reduce our prices, or if we are limited by supply or distribution constraints, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows can be materially adversely affected.
We may not successfully identify, complete or manage strategic transactions.
We regularly evaluate a variety of potential strategic transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, equity method investments and other strategic alliances that could further our strategic business objectives. We may not successfully identify, complete or manage the risks presented by these strategic transactions. Our success depends, in part, upon our ability to identify suitable transactions; negotiate favorable contractual terms; comply with applicable regulations and receive necessary consents, clearances and approvals (including regulatory and antitrust clearances and approvals); integrate or separate businesses; realize the full extent of the benefits, cost savings or synergies presented by strategic transactions; effectively implement control environment processes with employees joining us as a result of a transaction; minimize adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers and customers; achieve accurate estimates of fair value; minimize potential loss of customers or key employees; and minimize indemnities and potential disputes with buyers, sellers and strategic partners. In addition, execution or oversight of strategic transactions may result in the diversion of management attention from our existing business and may present financial, managerial and operational risks.
With respect to acquisitions and joint ventures in particular, we are also exposed to potential risks based on our ability to conform standards, controls, policies and procedures, and business cultures; consolidate and streamline
operations and infrastructures; identify and eliminate, as appropriate, redundant and underperforming operations and assets; manage inefficiencies associated with the integration of operations; and coordinate timely and ongoing compliance with antitrust and competition laws in the United States, the European Union and other jurisdictions. Joint ventures and similar strategic alliances pose additional risks, as we share ownership in both public and private companies and in some cases management responsibilities with one or more other parties whose objectives for the alliance may diverge from ours over time, who may not have the same priorities, strategies or resources as we do, or whose interpretation of applicable policies may differ from our own. Strategic alliances we have entered into include our investments in JDE Peet's N.V. and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. Transactions or ventures into which we enter might not meet our financial and non-financial control and compliance expectations or yield the anticipated benefits. Depending on the nature of the business ventures, including whether they operate globally, these ventures could also be subject to many of the same risks we are, including political, economic, regulatory and compliance risks, currency exchange rate fluctuations, and volatility of commodity and other input prices. Either partner might fail to recognize an alliance relationship that could expose the business to higher risk or make the venture not as productive as expected.
Furthermore, we may not be able to complete, on terms favorable to us, desired or proposed divestitures of businesses that do not meet our strategic objectives or our growth or profitability targets. Our divestiture activities, or related activities such as reorganizations, restructuring programs and transformation initiatives, may require us to recognize impairment charges or to take action to reduce costs that remain after we complete a divestiture. Gains or losses on the sales of, or lost operating income from, those businesses may also affect our profitability.
Any of these risks could materially and adversely affect our business, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Macroeconomic and Industry Risks
Climate change might adversely impact our supply chain or our operations.
Scientific evidence collected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrates that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have caused and will in the future cause changes in weather patterns around the globe. These changes are expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters and affect water availability and quality. These impacts increase risks for the global food production and distribution system. Decreased agricultural productivity caused by climate change might limit the availability of the commodities we purchase and use. These include cocoa, which is a critical raw material for our chocolate and biscuit portfolios that is particularly sensitive to changes in climate, as well as other raw materials such as wheat, vegetable oils, sugar, nuts and dairy. Localized weather events such as floods, severe storms or water shortages that are partially caused or exacerbated by climate change are physical risks that might disrupt our business operations or those of our suppliers, their suppliers, or our co-manufacturers or distributors.
Concern about climate change might result in new legal and regulatory requirements to reduce or mitigate the effects of climate change. These changes could increase our operating costs for things like energy or packaging through taxes or regulations, including payments under extended producer responsibility policies. Concern about climate change might cause consumer preferences to switch away from products or ingredients considered to have high climate change impact. Furthermore, we might fail to effectively address increased attention from the media, shareholders, activists and other stakeholders on climate change and related environmental sustainability matters, including deforestation, land use, water use and packaging, including plastic. Finally, the fact that consumers are exposed to rising temperatures could affect demand for our products, such as decreased demand we have experienced for chocolate during periods when temperatures are warmer.
Taken together these risks could materially and adversely affect our ability to meet the needs of our customers, reputation, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our retail customers are consolidating, and we must leverage our value proposition in order to compete against retailer and other economy brands.
Retail customers, such as supermarkets, discounters, e-commerce merchants, warehouse clubs and food distributors in the European Union, the United States and other major markets, continue to consolidate, form buying alliances or be acquired by new entrants in the food retail market, resulting in fewer, larger customers. Large retail customers and customer alliances can delist our products or reduce the shelf space allotted to our products and
demand lower pricing, increased promotional programs or longer payment terms. Retail customers might also adopt these tactics in their dealings with us in response to the significant growth in online retailing for consumer products, which is outpacing the growth of traditional retail channels and has increased further in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergence of alternative online retail channels, such as direct to consumer and e-business to business, may adversely affect our relationships with our large retail and wholesale customers.
In addition, larger retail customers have the scale to develop supply chains that permit them to operate with reduced inventories or to develop and market their own retailer and other economy brands that compete with some of our products. Our products must provide higher quality or value to our consumers than the less expensive alternatives, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty. Consumers may not buy our products when they perceive little difference between the quality or value of our products and those of retailer or other economy brands. When consumers prefer or otherwise choose to purchase the retailer or other economy brands, we can lose market share or sales volumes, or we may need to shift our product mix to lower margin offerings.
Retail consolidation also increases the risk that adverse changes in our customers’ business operations or financial performance will have a corresponding material adverse effect on us. For example, if our customers cannot access sufficient funds or financing, then they may delay, decrease or cancel purchases of our products, or delay or fail to pay us for previous purchases.
Failure to effectively respond to retail consolidation, increasing retail power and competition from retailer and other economy brands could materially and adversely affect our reputation, brands, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to changes in our relationships with significant customers, suppliers and distributors.
During 2020, our five largest customers accounted for 17.5% of our net revenues. There can be no assurance that our customers will continue to purchase our products in the same mix or quantities or on the same terms as in the past, particularly as increasingly powerful retailers continue to demand lower pricing and develop their own brands. The loss of or disruptions related to significant customers could result in a material reduction in sales or change in the mix of products we sell to a significant customer. This could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Disputes with significant suppliers or distributors, including disputes related to pricing or performance, could adversely affect our ability to supply or deliver products to our customers or operate our business and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the financial condition of our significant customers, suppliers and distributors are affected by events that are largely beyond our control such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Deterioration in the financial condition of significant customers, suppliers or distributors could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We may be unable to hire or retain and develop key personnel or a highly skilled and diverse global workforce or effectively manage changes in our workforce and respond to shifts in labor availability.
We must hire, retain and develop effective leaders and a highly skilled and diverse global workforce. We compete to hire new personnel with a variety of capabilities in the many countries in which we manufacture and market our products and then to develop and retain their skills and competencies. Unplanned or increased turnover of employees with key capabilities, failure to attract and develop personnel with key emerging capabilities such as e-commerce and digital marketing skills, or failure to develop adequate succession plans for leadership positions or to hire and retain a workforce with the skills and in the locations we need to operate and grow our business could deplete our institutional knowledge base and erode our competitiveness. We could face unforeseen challenges in the availability of labor, such as we have experienced since the outbreak of COVID-19. Changes in our operating model and business processes, including building a winning growth culture, implementing our “local first” commercial approach, utilizing our global shared services capability and reconfiguring our supply chain, could lead to operational challenges and changes in the skills we require to achieve our business goals. Failure to achieve a more diverse workforce and leadership team, compensate our employees competitively and fairly or maintain a safe and inclusive environment could affect our reputation and also result in lower performance and an inability to retain valuable employees.
We must address changes in, and that affect, our workforce and satisfy the legal requirements associated with how we manage and compensate our employees. This includes our management of employees represented by labor unions or workers’ councils, who represent approximately 63% of our 67,000 employees outside the United States and approximately 26% of our 12,000 U.S. employees. Strikes, work stoppages or other forms of labor unrest by our employees or those of our suppliers or distributors, or situations like the renegotiation of collective bargaining agreements, could cause disruptions to our supply chain, manufacturing or distribution processes. Changes in immigration laws and policies, including in connection with Brexit, or restrictions such as those imposed in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic could also make it more difficult for us to recruit or relocate skilled employees.
These risks could materially and adversely affect our reputation, ability to meet the needs of our customers, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Legal and Regulatory Risks
We face risks related to complying with changes in and inconsistencies among laws and regulations in many countries in which we operate.
Our activities around the world are highly regulated and subject to government oversight. Various laws and regulations govern food production, packaging and waste management, storage, distribution, sales, advertising, labeling and marketing, as well as intellectual property, competition, antitrust, trade, labor, tax and environmental matters, privacy, data protection, and health and safety practices. Government authorities regularly change laws and regulations as well as their interpretations of existing laws and regulations. Our failure to comply with existing laws and regulations, or to make changes necessary to comply with new or revised laws and regulations or evolving interpretations and application of existing laws and regulations, could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. For instance, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be negatively affected by the regulatory and economic impact of changes in the corporate tax policies of the United States and other countries; trade relations among the United States and other countries, including China, Mexico and the European Union; and changes within the European Union such as Brexit.
In connection with Brexit, on December 24, 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement on a new trade arrangement that became effective on January 1, 2021. Main trade provisions include the continuation of no tariffs or quotas on trade between the U.K. and E.U. so long as we meet prescribed trade terms. We will also need to meet product and labeling standards for both the U.K. and E.U. The U.K. may also set its own trade policies with countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand that currently do not have free trade agreements with the E.U. Cross-border trade between the U.K. and E.U. will be subject to new customs regulations, documentation and reviews. We anticipate increased shipping costs and near-term delays because of the need for ongoing customs inspections and related procedures. Our supply chain in this market relies on imports of raw and packaging materials as well as finished goods. Volatility in foreign currencies and other markets may also arise as the U.K. and E.U. work though the new trade arrangements. Once the new rules are formalized, there could be other near- or long-term negative impacts. Any disagreements on trade terms or supply chain or distribution delays or other disruptions could negatively affect our U.K. business. (See Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Financial Outlook – Brexit for more information.)
We may decide or be required to recall products or be subjected to product liability claims.
We could decide, or laws or regulations could require us, to recall products due to suspected or confirmed deliberate or unintentional product contamination, including contamination of ingredients we use in our products that third parties supply, spoilage or other adulteration, product mislabeling or product tampering. These risks could be heightened in light of increased pressure on our suppliers from the COVID-19 pandemic. On-site quality audits of third parties such as suppliers, external manufacturers and trademark licensees have been limited by travel restrictions and heightened safety protocols in light of COVID-19, and remote audits do not fully offset risks from the inability to conduct on-site audits. In addition, if another company recalls or experiences negative publicity related to a product in a category in which we compete, consumers might reduce their overall consumption of products in this category. Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our reputation, brands, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We may also suffer losses when our products or operations or those of our suppliers violate applicable laws or regulations, or when our or our suppliers’ products cause injury, illness or death. In addition, our marketing could face claims of false or deceptive advertising or other criticism. A significant product liability claim or other legal judgment against us, a related regulatory enforcement action, a widespread product recall or attempts to manipulate us based on threats related to the safety of our products could materially and adversely affect our reputation and profitability. Moreover, even if a product liability, consumer fraud or other claim is unsuccessful, has no merit or is not pursued, the negative publicity surrounding assertions against our products or processes could materially and adversely affect our reputation, brands, product sales, product inventory, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, and we could incur significant expense responding to such a claim.
We face risks related to legal or tax claims or other regulatory enforcement actions.
We are a large snack food company operating in highly regulated environments and constantly evolving legal, tax and regulatory frameworks around the world. Consequently, we are subject to greater risk of litigation, legal or tax claims or other regulatory enforcement actions. We have implemented policies and procedures designed to promote compliance with existing laws and regulations; however, there can be no assurance that we maintain effective control environment processes, including in connection with our global shared services capability. Actions by our employees, contractors or agents in violation of our policies and procedures could lead to violations, unintentional or otherwise, of laws and regulations. When litigation, legal or tax claims or regulatory enforcement actions arise out of our failure or alleged failure to comply with applicable laws, regulations or controls, we could be subject to civil and criminal penalties that could materially and adversely affect our reputation, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Even if a claim is unsuccessful, without merit or not pursued to completion, the cost of responding to such a claim, including expenses and management time, could adversely affect us. Furthermore, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be investigations, legal claims or litigation against us relating to our actions or decisions in response to the pandemic.
We could fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting.
The accuracy of our financial reporting depends on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements and may not prevent or detect misstatements because of its inherent limitations. These limitations include, among others, the possibility of human error, inadequacy or circumvention of controls and fraud. If we do not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting or design and implement controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of our financial statements, including in connection with controls executed for us by third parties, we might fail to timely detect any misappropriation of corporate assets or inappropriate allocation or use of funds and could be unable to file accurate financial reports on a timely basis. As a result, our reputation, results of operations and stock price could be materially adversely affected.
We face risks related to adequately protecting our valuable intellectual property rights.
We consider our intellectual property rights, particularly and most notably our trademarks, but also our patents, copyrights, registered designs, proprietary trade secrets, recipes, technology, know-how and licensing agreements, to be a significant and valuable part of our business. We attempt to protect our intellectual property rights by taking advantage of a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws in various countries, as well as licensing agreements, third-party nondisclosure and assignment agreements and policing of third-party misuses and infringement of our intellectual property. Our failure to obtain or adequately protect our intellectual property rights, or any change in law or other changes that serve to lessen or remove the current legal protections of our intellectual property, may diminish our competitiveness and could materially harm our business and financial condition.
We may be unaware of potential third-party claims of intellectual property infringement relating to our technology, brands or products. Any litigation regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time-consuming and could divert management’s and other key personnel’s attention from our business operations. Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement might require us to pay monetary damages or enter into costly license agreements. We also may be subject to injunctions against development and sale of certain of our products, which could include removal of existing products from sale. Any of these occurrences could materially and adversely affect our reputation, brand health, ability to introduce new products or improve the quality of existing products, product sales, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We face risks related to tax matters, including changes in tax laws and rates, disagreements with taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes.
In December 2017, the United States enacted tax reform legislation (“U.S. tax reform”). The legislation implements many new U.S. domestic and international tax provisions. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the U.S. Treasury Department and numerous state governments issued additional guidance during 2018, 2019 and 2020. We have factored the original 2017 legislation as well as the additional guidance into our 2017 through 2020 financial results of operations as applicable. As of January 2021, there is a new president of the United States, and his campaign included proposed changes to U.S. tax legislation. Adoption of new U.S. tax rules could have a material adverse effect on us.
In addition, tax legislation enacted by foreign jurisdictions could significantly affect our ongoing operations. For example, during the third quarter of 2019, Swiss Federal and Zurich Cantonal events took place that resulted in enacted tax law changes under U.S. GAAP (“Swiss tax reform”). The new legislation is intended to replace certain preferential tax regimes with a new set of internationally accepted measures. We will continue to monitor Swiss tax reform for any additional interpretative guidance that could result in changes to the amounts we have recorded. Further, foreign tax authorities could impose rate changes along with additional corporate tax provisions that would disallow or tax perceived base erosion or profit shifting payments or subject us to new types of taxes such as digital taxes. Aspects of U.S. tax reform may lead foreign jurisdictions to respond by enacting additional tax legislation that is unfavorable to us.
Adverse changes in the underlying profitability or financial outlook of our operations in several jurisdictions could lead to changes in the realizability of our deferred tax assets and result in a charge to our income tax provision. Additionally, changes in tax laws in the U.S. or in other countries where we have significant operations could materially affect deferred tax assets and liabilities and our income tax provision.
We are also subject to tax audits by governmental authorities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, if a taxing authority disagrees with the positions we have taken, we could face additional tax liabilities, including interest and penalties. Unexpected results from one or more such tax audits could significantly adversely affect our income tax provision, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to currency exchange rate fluctuations.
At December 31, 2020, we sold our products in over 150 countries and had operations in approximately 80 countries. Consequently, a significant portion of our business is exposed to currency exchange rate fluctuations. Our financial results and capital ratios are sensitive to movements in currency exchange rates because a large portion of our assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses must be translated into U.S. dollars for reporting purposes or converted into U.S. dollars to service obligations such as our U.S. dollar-denominated indebtedness and to pay dividends to our shareholders. In addition, movements in currency exchange rates affect transaction costs because we source product ingredients from various countries. Our efforts to mitigate our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations, primarily on cross-currency transactions, may not be successful. We hedge a number of risks including exposures to foreign exchange rate movements and volatility of interest rates that could impact our future borrowing costs. Hedging of these risks could potentially subject us to counter-party credit risk. In addition, local economies, monetary policies and currency hedging availability affect our ability to hedge against currency-related economic losses. We might not be able to successfully mitigate our exposure to currency risks due to factors such as continued global and local market volatility, actions by foreign governments, political uncertainty, inflation and limited hedging opportunities. Accordingly, changes in the currency exchange rates that we use to translate our results into U.S. dollars for financial reporting purposes or for transactions involving multiple currencies could materially and adversely affect future demand for our products, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, and our relationships with customers, suppliers and employees in the short or long-term.
Weak financial performance, downgrades in our credit ratings, illiquid global capital markets and volatile global economic conditions could limit our access to the global capital markets, reduce our liquidity and increase our borrowing costs.
We access the long-term and short-term global capital markets to obtain financing. Our financial performance, our short-and long-term debt credit ratings, interest rates, the stability of financial institutions with which we partner, the
liquidity of the overall global capital markets and the state of the global economy, including the food industry, could affect our access to, and the availability or cost of, financing on acceptable terms and conditions and our ability to pay dividends in the future. There can be no assurance that we will have access to the global capital markets on terms we find acceptable.
We regularly access the commercial paper markets in the United States and Europe for ongoing funding requirements. A downgrade in our credit ratings by a credit rating agency could increase our borrowing costs and adversely affect our ability to issue commercial paper. Disruptions in the global commercial paper market or other effects of volatile economic conditions on the global credit markets also could reduce the amount of commercial paper that we could issue and raise our borrowing costs for both short- and long-term debt offerings.
Limitations on our ability to access the global capital markets, a reduction in our liquidity or an increase in our borrowing costs could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Volatility in the equity markets, interest rates, our participation in multiemployer pension plans and other factors could increase our costs relating to our employees’ pensions.
We sponsor defined benefit pension plans for a number of our employees throughout the world and also contribute to other employees’ pensions under defined benefit plans that we do not sponsor. At the end of 2020, the projected benefit obligation of the defined benefit pension plans we sponsor was $13.5 billion and plan assets were $12.9 billion.
For defined benefit pension plans that we maintain, the difference between plan obligations and assets, or the funded status of the plans, significantly affects the net periodic benefit costs of our pension plans and the ongoing funding requirements of those plans. Our largest funded defined benefit pension plans are funded with trust assets invested in a globally diversified portfolio of investments, including equities and corporate and government debt. Among other factors, changes in interest rates, mortality rates, early retirement rates, investment returns, funding requirements in the jurisdictions in which the plans operate and the market value of plan assets affect the level of plan funding, cause volatility in the net periodic pension cost and impact our future funding requirements. Legislative and other governmental regulatory actions may also increase funding requirements for our pension plans’ benefits obligation. Volatility in the global capital markets may increase the risk that we will be required to make additional cash contributions to these company-sponsored pension plans and recognize further increases in our net periodic pension cost.
We also participate in multiemployer pension plans for certain U.S. union-represented employees. As a participating employer under multiemployer pension plans, we may owe more than the contributions we are required to make under the applicable collective bargaining agreements. For example, if we partially or completely withdraw from a multiemployer pension plan, we may be required to pay a partial or complete withdrawal liability, such as the withdrawal liability we are paying in connection with our complete withdrawal from the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund in 2018. This kind of withdrawal liability will generally increase if there is also a mass withdrawal of other participating employers or if the plan terminates. See Note 11, Benefit Plans, to the consolidated financial statements for more information on our multiemployer pension plans.
A significant increase in our pension benefit obligations or funding requirements could curtail our ability to invest in the business and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
Item 2. Properties.
On December 31, 2020, we had approximately 133 manufacturing and processing facilities in 45 countries and 111 distribution centers and depots worldwide that we owned or leased. During 2020, the number of manufacturing facilities increased by 7 and the number of distribution facilities increased by 1 due in part to our acquisition of Give & Go in 2020. In addition to our owned or leased properties, we also utilize a highly distributed network of warehouses and distribution centers that are owned or leased by third party logistics partners, contract manufacturers, co-packers or other strategic partners. We believe we have or will add sufficient capacity to meet our planned operating needs. It is our practice to maintain all of our plants and other facilities in good condition.
| ||As of December 31, 2020|
Latin America (1)
|12 ||12 |
|AMEA||43 ||31 |
|Europe||55 ||8 |
|North America||23 ||60 |
|Total||133 ||111 |
|Owned||116 ||14 |
|Leased||17 ||97 |
|Total||133 ||111 |
(1)Excludes our deconsolidated Venezuela operations. Refer to Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, for more information.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
Information regarding legal proceedings is available in Note 14, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements in this report.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
We are proud members of the Standard and Poor's 500 and Nasdaq 100. Our Common Stock is listed on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “MDLZ.” At January 29, 2021, there were 43,367 holders of record of our Common Stock.
Comparison of Five-Year Cumulative Total Return
The following graph compares the cumulative total return on our Common Stock with the cumulative total return of the S&P 500 Index and the Mondelēz International performance peer group index. The graph assumes, in each case, that an initial investment of $100 is made at the beginning of the five-year period. The cumulative total return reflects market prices at the end of each year and the reinvestment of dividends each year.
|As of December 31,||Mondelēz|
|2015||$||100.00 ||$||100.00 ||$||100.00 |
|2016||100.57 ||111.96 ||104.70 |
|2017||98.98 ||136.40 ||121.55 |
|2018||94.75 ||130.42 ||114.36 |
|2019||133.06 ||171.49 ||145.00 |
|2020||144.48 ||203.04 ||158.62 |
The Mondelēz International performance peer group consists of the following companies considered our market competitors or that have been selected on the basis of industry, global focus or industry leadership: Campbell Soup Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Danone S.A., General Mills, Inc., The Hershey Company, Kellogg Company, The Kraft Heinz Company, Nestlé S.A., PepsiCo, Inc., The Procter & Gamble Company and Unilever PLC. The Kraft Heinz Company performance history is included for 2016 through 2020 only as the company was formed in 2015.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our stock repurchase activity for each of the three months in the quarter ended December 31, 2020 was:
Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price Paid per Share (1)
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs (2)
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (2)
|October 1-31, 2020||60,320 ||$||57.57 ||— ||$||2,450 |
|November 1-30, 2020||5,488,346 |