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, 2021
|☐||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|
|1.625% Notes due 2027||MDLZ27||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|0.250% Notes due 2028||MDLZ28||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|0.750% Notes due 2033||MDLZ33||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|
|1.375% Notes due 2041||MDLZ41||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, 2021, was $85.8 billion. At January 28, 2022, there were 1,388,328,044 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 18, 2022 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,” “intend,” “likely,” “drive,” “seek,” “aim,” “potential,” “project,” “objective,” “target,” “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 pandemic and related disruptions on our business including consumer demand, costs, product mix, the availability of and our ability to deliver our products, our strategic initiatives, our and our partners’ global supply chains, operations, technology, assets and routes to market, and our financial performance; 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; operational improvements and efficiencies; volatility in global consumer, commodity, transportation, labor, currency and capital markets; price volatility, inflation and pricing actions; the cost environment, including higher operating, raw material, transportation, labor and fuel costs, factors affecting costs and measures we are taking to address increased costs; supply, transportation and labor disruptions and constraints; consumer behavior, mobility and consumption and demand trends and our business in developed and emerging markets, our channels, our brands and our categories; our tax rate, tax positions, tax proceedings, tax estimates, valuation allowances and the impact on us of potential U.S. and global tax reform; market share and our market position; the separation of the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) from the European Union (“E.U.”) and its impact on our business and results, including in connection with disagreements on trade terms, delays affecting our supply chain or distribution, disruptions to sales or collections, or further increases in inflationary cost pressures; advertising and promotion bans and restrictions in the U.K.; the costs of, timing of expenditures under and completion of our restructuring program; category growth; consumer snacking behaviors; commodity prices, supply and availability; our investments and the results and potential of those investments, including our investments in JDE Peet's and KDP; research, development and innovation; our digital transformation program; 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 digital 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; human capital matters; our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions; our other environmental, social and governance strategies, goals, targets and initiatives and the impacts of climate change; our efforts to become a more sustainable snacking company; 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, 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 and other obligations; 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 pandemic, including the spread of new variants of COVID-19 such as Omicron. 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 effectiveness of efforts by health officials and governments to control the spread of COVID-19 and inoculate and treat populations impacted by COVID-19; uncertainty about the reimposition or lessening of restrictions imposed by governments intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the magnitude, duration, geographic reach and impact on the global economy of COVID-19; the ongoing, and uncertain future, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic 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 and availability of commodities; 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 2017 malware incident, cyberattacks or other security breaches; global or regional health pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19; competition and our response to channel shifts and pricing and other competitive pressures; promotion and 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 and shifts in labor availability; consolidation of retail customers and competition with retailer and other economy brands; changes in our relationships with customers, suppliers or distributors; compliance with legal, regulatory, tax and benefit laws and related 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 or disclosure controls and procedures; volatility of and access to capital or other markets, the effectiveness of our cash management programs 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. In addition, historical, current and forward-looking sustainability-related statements may be based on standards for measuring progress that are still developing, internal controls and processes that continue to evolve, and assumptions that are subject to change in the future.
Item 1. Business.
Mondelēz International’s purpose is to empower people to snack right. We sell our products in over 150 countries around the world. We are one of the world’s largest snack companies with global net revenues of $28.7 billion and net earnings of $4.3 billion in 2021. 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.
We strive to create a positive impact on the world and communities in which we operate while driving business performance. Our goal is to lead the future of snacking around the world by offering the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. We aim to deliver a broad range of delicious, high-quality snacks that nourish life’s moments, made with sustainable ingredients and packaging that consumers can feel good about. We remain committed to driving longstanding and enduring positive change in the world.
Mondelēz International at a Glance
We aim to be the global leader in snacking by focusing on growth, execution and culture. 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 profit dollar 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:
•Accelerate consumer-centric growth. Our consumers are the reason we want to be the best snacking company in the world, and we put them at the heart of everything we do. With our consumers in mind, we are focused on accelerating growth by investing in both our global and local brands. We are working to implement innovative ideas and programs, drive growth in new channels, and build and develop new and existing partnerships that serve our consumers. As demands on consumers’ time increase and consumer eating habits evolve, we aim to meet consumers' snacking needs. We plan to test, learn and scale new product offerings quickly to meet diverse and evolving local and global snacking demand.
•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 applying strong cost discipline 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 committed to investing in a diverse and talented workforce that helps our business move forward with greater speed and agility. We empower our local teams to innovate and deliver consumers’ snacking needs while continuing to leverage our global scale to efficiently support our growth strategy. We have given 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 and 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 our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and operating and cultural shifts to continue building a winning growth culture 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.
In addition, we also continue to focus significant efforts to drive progress against our core initiatives for more sustainable and mindful snacking. For the last several years, we have been following the principles of the Science Based Targets initiative (“SBTi”) as we continued to measure our greenhouse gas footprint, worked to reduce our emissions and accelerated our existing sustainability initiatives to become a more sustainable snacking company. In November 2021, we set a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our full value chain (including Scope 1 through 3 greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050. We have signed the SBTi’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C, aligning our long-term emissions mitigation goals with the aim of limiting temperature rise in accordance with the Paris Agreement, the 2015 international treaty on climate change. We also joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign to help build momentum toward a decarbonized economy. These goals are a strategic priority and help guide us as we continue our sustainability work to drive lasting progress at scale and create long-term value for the business and our stakeholders. We continue to report on our progress in our annual Snacking Made Right report, where we discuss our performance against our environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) goals and initiatives. Please also see our Sustainability and Mindful Snacking section below.
In 2020 and 2021, 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. In this way, we 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 for more information.
We sell our products in over 150 countries and have operations in approximately 80 countries, including 131 manufacturing and processing facilities across 45 countries. The portion of our net revenues generated outside the United States was 75.1% in 2021, 73.2% in 2020 and 74.4% in 2019. 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 markets 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, Türkiye, 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||$||2,797 ||$||2,477 ||$||3,018 |
|AMEA||6,465 ||5,740 ||5,770 |
|Europe||11,156 ||10,207 ||9,972 |
|North America||8,302 ||8,157 ||7,108 |
|$||28,720 ||$||26,581 ||$||25,868 |
Our segment operating income for each of the last three years was:
| ||For the Years Ended December 31,|
| ||(in millions, except percentages)|
|Segment operating income:|
|Latin America||$||261 ||5.5 ||%||$||189 ||4.3 ||%||$||341 ||8.1 ||%|
|AMEA||1,054 ||22.0 ||%||821 ||18.8 ||%||691 ||16.4 ||%|
|Europe||2,092 ||43.8 ||%||1,775 ||40.6 ||%||1,732 ||41.1 ||%|
|North America||1,371 ||28.7 ||%||1,587 ||36.3 ||%||1,451 ||34.4 ||%|
|$||4,778 ||100.0 ||%||$||4,372 ||100.0 ||%||$||4,215 ||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 2021, our segments contributed to our net revenues in the following product categories:
| ||Percentage of 2021 Net Revenues by Product Category|
|Beverages||Cheese & Grocery||Total|
|Latin America||2.8 ||%||2.6 ||%||2.0 ||%||1.3 ||%||1.1 ||%||9.8 ||%|
|AMEA||7.8 ||%||8.3 ||%||2.8 ||%||1.9 ||%||1.7 ||%||22.5 ||%|
|Europe||11.6 ||%||20.4 ||%||2.1 ||%||0.4 ||%||4.3 ||%||38.8 ||%|
|North America||24.9 ||%||1.0 ||%||3.0 ||%||— ||%||— ||%||28.9 ||%|
|47.1 ||%||32.3 ||%||9.9 ||%||3.6 ||%||7.1 ||%||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||37 ||%||39 ||%||37 ||%|
|Chocolate - Tablets, bars and other||32 ||%||31 ||%||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. We also sell products directly to businesses and consumers through various pure play e-retail platforms, retailer digital platforms, our Direct to Consumer websites and social media platforms.
No single customer accounted for 10% or more of our net revenues from continuing operations in 2021. Our five largest customers accounted for 16.7% and our ten largest customers accounted for 23.0% of net revenues from continuing operations in 2021. 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, third party distributors and other facilities. We use the services of independent sales offices and agents in some of our international locations. Through our global digital 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 advertising and consumer promotions, talent and digital capabilities. Our digital 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
We work to understand consumer needs and deliver snacks with consistent quality and taste. We continue to invest in a global network of technical centers to research and support our growth while continuing to innovate our processes. 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. We work to test-and-learn new ideas and implement successful ones into other areas of our business. Mindful snacking and sustainability are a significant focus of our current research and development initiatives. We work to introduce new varieties of our core products, including new taste or nutrition profiles based on consumer preferences, such as Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars with 30% less sugar, Sugar-free Oreos and the Cadbury Plant Bar, a vegan (100% plant-based) sustainably-sourced cocoa chocolate bar wrapped in plant-based packaging. We aim to address consumer needs and market trends and leverage scalable innovation platforms, sustainability programs and breakthrough technologies in order to delight our consumers and fuel our growth. We are focusing our technical research and development resources at 12 technical centers around the globe to drive growth, creativity, greater effectiveness, improved efficiency and accelerated project delivery.
We also have a dedicated innovation and venture hub, SnackFutures, which is designed to capitalize on consumer trends and emerging growth opportunities in well-being snacks. The group’s priorities support incremental growth against three key strategic areas: invent new brands and businesses, invest in early stage entrepreneurs, and amplify SnackFutures’ impact with the CoLab start-up engagement program built to provide start-ups with tools, technologies and expertise that can help them learn, grow and succeed.
We face competition in all aspects of our business. Competitors include large multinational as well as numerous local and regional companies, including new start-up brands and businesses. 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, effects from the current COVID-19 global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, 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. During late 2021 in particular, commodity costs have primarily increased due to recent supply chain disruptions. We expect commodity cost volatility to continue, and our commodity hedging activities cannot fully offset this volatility. Despite the recent and expected supply chain, transportation and labor disruptions, 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. However, we continue to monitor the near-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, climate change and related factors that could affect the availability or cost of raw materials, packaging and energy. For additional information,
refer to Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Commodity Trends. For information on our ongoing sustainability efforts and programs, refer to Sustainability and Mindful Snacking below.
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 help us drive strong financial performance. Attracting, developing and retaining global talent with the right skills to drive our business is central to our purpose, mission and long-term growth strategy.
Workforce Profile: Consistent with 2020, at December 31, 2021, we had approximately 79,000 employees. At December 31, 2021, we had approximately 11,000 U.S. employees and approximately 68,000 employees outside the United States, with employees represented by labor unions or workers’ councils representing approximately 28% of our U.S. employees and approximately 61% of our employees outside the United States.
Workplace Safety and Wellness: We promote a strong culture of safety and prioritize keeping all our employees, contractors and visitors safe. To accomplish this, we employ comprehensive health, safety and environment management policies and standards throughout the organization. In addition, we strive to continuously improve our work processes, tools and metrics to reduce workplace injuries and enhance safety.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented strict health and safety protocols and taken appropriate measures in our facilities, including implementing temperature screening, social distancing, mask-wearing and work-from-home policies where applicable. As local governments began planning their vaccine rollout programs, we developed and deployed a three-phased vaccine advocacy strategy to understand intent, drive interest and secure vaccine availability for our colleagues all around the world. We will continue to employ a flexible approach to how and where we work for our office-based employees, focusing on new ways of working in the workplace that enables colleagues to work remotely when appropriate and evolves our office spaces to foster great connection and collaboration.
Culture and 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, regional, functional and managerial levels. By acting on results both at an aggregate enterprise level and a department/business/work group level, we have been able to enhance our culture and improve our overall engagement.
We believe this reflects our ongoing efforts during the pandemic to focus on our employees, their well-being and the issues that matter to them. In 2021, we had over 12,000 colleagues actively participating in training that supported their well-being and provided them with new tools and resources to support remote work. We also launched initiatives to further agile ways of working and streamline decision-making processes to enhance productivity and employee engagement. We continue to build a winning growth culture and continue our commitment to work on the areas that matter to our people and build on our momentum.
Total Rewards: As part of our total rewards philosophy, we offer competitive compensation and benefits to attract and retain top talent. Our compensation programs are designed to reinforce our growth agenda and talent strategy as well as drive a strong connection between the contributions of our employees and their pay. We believe the structure of our compensation packages provides the appropriate incentives to attract, retain and motivate our employees. Further, to foster a strong sense of ownership and align the interests of employees with shareholders, we grant stock-based incentives to most senior-level employees.
We also continue to evolve our programs to meet our employees’ health and wellness needs. We provide access to medical and welfare benefits and offer programs to all employees that support work-life balance, including paid parental leave, as well as financial, physical and mental health resources.
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 conduct global pay equity reviews for salaried employees comparing employees in the same pay grade within a country/area to help identify any unsupported distinctions in pay between employees of different genders and races (as permitted by local country law).
Our last global analysis in 2021 encompassed 81 countries and over 32,000 employees. From this analysis, we noted our pay gap between male and female employees was less than 1%. We anticipate this gap will further decrease through pay adjustments for employees identified during the review. In the United States, we also review pay for salaried employees in the same pay grade by race/ethnicity (Asian, Black and Hispanic). The 2021 independent analysis found no systemic issues and no negative pay gap between non-white and white employees.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Diversity, equity & inclusion (“DE&I”) significantly contributes to our winning growth culture. We work to reflect the diversity of ideas and people in our world and to maximize the power and potential of our employees.
In addition, we have many communities and sponsored programs tailored for our diverse workforce, including those that foster gender and race equality. At the end of 2021, women held 39.3% of global management roles (defined as Director and above) and 27.3% 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, and we are exceeding our expected annual progress toward that goal. For our U.S. leadership, Black employees held 5.1% of management roles (defined as Director and above) at the end of 2021 and 3.2% at the end of 2020.
Our DE&I commitment is led from the top and driven throughout the organization by our Management Leadership Team, Board of Directors and Mondelēz Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee. As an important step in our DE&I journey, we established a team, including C-suite officers and other key senior leaders, charged with collectively setting the strategy and DE&I commitments across the organization.
We also include specific DE&I metrics as a part of the strategic scorecard within our annual incentive plan for our 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.
As a global employer, we recognize and value differences and are championing DE&I around the world. We are creating local and global opportunities to further racial equity and economic empowerment by expanding our DE&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.
Talent Management and Development: 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 invest 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. We provide technical and leadership programs across the organization that enable colleagues to grow skills and capabilities to become more successful. We also have dedicated talent programs that support and accelerate leadership development and strengthen our succession plans. 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.
For additional detail on DE&I, our workplace safety practices and measurements and workplace wellness, please see our latest Snacking Made Right report on our website and our upcoming 2021 report, which we expect to publish in May 2022.
Sustainability and Mindful Snacking
Our mission is to lead the future of snacking by creating snacks the right way for both people and planet. We are focused on making our snacks more sustainably by using ingredients consumers know and trust, using less energy and water and creating less waste. Our mindful snacking strategy aims to encourage consumers to snack with moderation through portion control offerings and portion size labeling, and we continue to evolve our portfolio to meet consumers’ needs. We have specific goals and continue to make progress and scale our efforts to deliver meaningful change. 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.
We have been focused on sustainability for many years and are committed to making a meaningful difference, including in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. In our end-to-end assessment of our supply chain from suppliers to consumers, raw ingredient sourcing (including primarily cocoa, dairy, wheat, palm and other vegetable oils) and related land use is the predominant contributor to our Scope 1 through 3 estimated greenhouse gas emissions. We have been continuing to work to reduce emissions and in November 2021, we announced our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our full value chain (including Scope 1 through 3 greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050.
“Net zero emissions” refers to achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions released through human activities and those removed from the atmosphere. Getting to net zero emissions means we plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with SBTi mitigation pathways, using low-carbon technologies and agricultural practices. In line with the SBTi net zero protocol, we would then neutralize the impact of any residual emissions that cannot be eliminated by permanently removing an equivalent amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide, such as through certified greenhouse gas emission reduction projects and sequestration. To date, we have not focused on using carbon credits or similar instruments, and our priority is to continue to reduce our emissions in line with the SBTi protocol. Our strategies could change over time through 2050 as new emission reduction options become available.
As we work to accomplish these goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our full value chain, we are focused on helping to expand the use of regenerative agricultural methods, preserve forested protected lands, conserve resources such as water and energy and foster safe and equitable workplaces and communities. We continue to expand our raw material sourcing programs, such as Cocoa Life for cocoa and Harmony for wheat, and leverage our supplier relationships and industry-sector coalitions to promote the use of new agricultural methods and technologies and tools focused on improving yields and reducing related greenhouse gas emissions. Within our operations, we plan to increase our use of low-carbon technology to reduce emissions and increase our use of renewable energy. We also plan to invest in low-carbon solutions as we replace ovens and refrigerants and increase our use of recycled plastic and other types of packaging materials.
In addition to our 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal, our 2025 sustainability and mindful snacking goals include:
•Reducing food waste in manufacturing, end-to-end CO2e emissions and priority water usage
•Designing all packaging to be recyclable
•Scaling our Cocoa Life sustainability program so that Cocoa Life will produce 100% of the cocoa volume we require for our chocolate brands
•Growing portion control products to 20% of snacks net revenues
•Including mindful snacking portion information on all packages globally by 2025
In September 2021, we issued our first green bonds, raising nearly €2.0 billion or approximately $2.4 billion, further enabling us to cost-effectively fund eligible projects that align with our sustainability priorities in the areas of building a thriving ingredient supply chain and reducing our environmental impact.
The Governance, Membership and Sustainability Committee of our Board of Directors oversees our environmental and social sustainability and well-being initiatives. Our ESG goals are part of our strategic planning process and are also embedded across our organization and within our annual incentive compensation program for our leadership. Our businesses and senior leaders work to deliver progress that is regularly reviewed with business leadership teams and our Board of Directors.
We discuss our ESG goals and programs in detail in our annual Snacking Made Right ESG report available on our website. Under Snacking Made Right - Reporting and Disclosure, we also publish 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 provide our CDP Climate Change, Water Security and Forests annual disclosures.
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 96th percentile of our industry according to the latest DJSI report issued in November 2021.
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 in 2012.
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 or environmental claims; 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; cross-border trade concessions or border barriers; corporate tax policies of the United States and other countries; and packaging taxes. In addition, over 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 being implemented or contemplated in other jurisdictions around the world, including India, Vietnam and certain states in the United States. Single-use plastic bans and other plastic taxes are being considered in Europe as well as countries including Indonesia and the Philippines.
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 4, 2022:
|Dirk Van de Put||61||Chief Executive Officer|
|Luca Zaramella||52||Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer|
|Paulette Alviti||51||Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer|
|Maurizio Brusadelli||53||Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa|
|Vinzenz P. Gruber||56||Executive Vice President and President, Europe|
|Robin S. Hargrove||56|
Executive Vice President and Chief Research and Development Officer
|Sandra MacQuillan||55||Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer|
|Laura Stein||60||Executive Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel|
|Gustavo C. Valle||57||Executive Vice President and President, Latin America|
|Henry Glendon (Glen) Walter IV||53||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 Executive Vice President, Research, Development and Quality (now Executive Vice President and Chief Research and Development Officer) in January 2019. 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.
Ms. Stein became Executive Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel in January 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. Valle will become Executive Vice President and President, North America in March 2022.
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. Mr. Walter will leave Mondelēz International in March 2022.
Ethics and Governance
We have 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 have 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 COVID-19 or other pandemics or epidemics. The severity, magnitude and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic remain uncertain and hard to predict. Since 2020, COVID-19 has 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:
•In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower revenues in some of our emerging market countries that have a greater concentration of traditional trade outlets (such as small family-run stores), as well as in our world travel retail (such as international duty-free stores) and foodservice businesses and categories like gum and candy, which are more traditionally purchased and consumed out of home. Some of these parts of our business continue to be negatively affected by the ongoing pandemic, and some of these areas such as gum that grew in 2021 have not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. We are unable to predict how long these trends will continue or whether they will worsen.
•In 2020 and 2021, sales of some of our products in some markets and channels increased, such as products for in-home consumption and categories like biscuits, as well as the modern trade and digital commerce channels. We are unable to predict how long this sustained demand will last. Different markets and parts of our business will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic at different rates depending on many factors including vaccination levels or new COVID-19 variants and related outbreaks within a market.
•The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and could materially disrupt our global supply chain, operations and routes to market or those of our suppliers, their suppliers, our external manufacturing partners, distributors or other business partners. Disruptions or our failure to effectively respond to them have increased and could in the future 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 and Vietnam in 2021.
•The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in broader supply, transportation and labor disruptions resulting in inflation and generally higher operating costs in our business. In 2021, we experienced labor disruptions primarily in our North America region, which impacted our sales in the fourth quarter. We also experienced labor-related disruptions in our network of third-party logistics and external manufacturing, and we anticipate labor shortage-related issues will continue in 2022. As a result of incremental pandemic-related expenditures and labor disruptions, we incurred and expect to continue to incur higher labor costs, particularly as the pandemic continues.
•Commodity and transportation costs have become more volatile and generally increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and transportation and labor shortages. We expect commodity cost volatility to continue, and our commodity hedging activities cannot fully offset this volatility.
•Further disruptions or uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic could result in delays or modifications to our strategic plans and initiatives.
•Illness, travel restrictions, absenteeism or other workforce disruptions have affected and could materially negatively affect our supply chain, manufacturing, distribution or other business processes. The pandemic has also necessitated increased expenditures to secure the safety and effectiveness of our personnel and operations.
•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. Resumption, continuation or expansion of these disruptions could materially adversely impact our operations and results.
•Initially during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 pandemics or epidemics and actions taken by parties other than us to respond to them, and in the case of COVID-19, on the emergence and spread of COVID-19 variants including Omicron. Any of these disruptions could have a negative impact on our business operations, financial performance, results of operations and stock price, and this 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, including as a result of inflation, or effective trade incentives could negatively impact demand for our products, 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, such as discounters as well as digital commerce which has expanded significantly following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 digital 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. We will be disadvantaged if we are not able to effectively leverage developing channels such as direct-to-consumer and electronic business-to-business commerce. 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 adjust pricing but cannot maintain or 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 2021, we continued to operate under our strategy, which focuses on accelerating consumer-centric and volume-driven growth; operational excellence driven by cost discipline, simplification and continuous operational improvement including in areas like sales execution; and building a winning growth culture with a “local first” commercial approach. We have developed an approach to ESG that we believe supports our strategy and is focused on four areas: safety, supply security, our environmental footprint and consumer well-being. If our strategy is not effective, we fail to achieve our goals and objectives or identify or prioritize the areas most important to achieving our goals, or we fail to effectively operate under our strategy in a way that minimizes disruptions to our business, it could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and stock price.
Promoting and protecting our reputation and brand image 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 such as digital commerce, and evolve our portfolio with new product offerings that meet consumer needs and 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 well-being, including changing consumer acceptance of certain ingredients, industrial manufacturing and processing, nutritional expectations of our products, and the sustainability of our ingredients, our supply chain and our packaging (including plastic packaging and its ability to be recycled and other environmental impacts) could adversely affect our brands. Increased negative attention from the media, academics and online influencers, governments, shareholders and other stakeholders in these areas as well as on the role of food marketing and other environmental, social, human capital or governance practices could adversely affect our brand image. Undue caution or our failure to react timely 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 and disparate legal or regulatory restrictions on our labeling, advertising and consumer promotions, or our response to those restrictions, could limit our efforts to maintain, extend and expand our brands. This includes regulations such as front-of-pack labeling; selective food taxes; and age-based restrictions on sales of products with certain nutritional profiles enacted in some states in Mexico. In the United Kingdom, a ban on specific types of TV and online advertising of food containing levels of fat, sugar or salt above specified thresholds is expected to go into effect in 2023, and new measures restricting certain promotions and in-store placement of some of those products are expected to go into effect in October 2022. 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 including climate change, human and workplace rights across our supply chain, labor relations, 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 as well as our own policies and participation in industry self-regulation initiatives 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. We might also fail to sufficiently evolve our digital marketing efforts to effectively utilize consumer data. 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. 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. 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. Third parties might also improperly use our brands as part of phishing or other scams, which could negatively affect our brand image. 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, cash flows and stock price.
We must correctly predict, identify, interpret and meet 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, interpret and meet 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 digital commerce for consumers. Our success relies upon managing this complexity to promote and bring our products to consumers effectively. Moreover, weak economic conditions, inflation, equity market volatility or other factors, such as global or local pandemics and severe or unusual weather events, affect consumer preferences and demand. We have experienced continued evolution of lifestyles and consumption patterns, including increased demand for biscuits and decreased demand for gum, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Failure to offer and deliver 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. Our sales can be adversely affected when we do not accurately predict which shifts in consumer preferences or category trends will be long-term or we fail to introduce new and improved products to satisfy changing preferences. 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. We must also 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. Demand for our products could decrease and our profitability could suffer if we fail 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.
Negative perceptions concerning the health, environmental and social implications of certain food products, ingredients, packaging materials, and 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 ingredients in 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, cash flows and stock price.
We are subject to risks from operating globally.
We are a global company and generated 75.1% of our 2021 net revenues, 73.2% of our 2020 net revenues and 74.4% of our 2019 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, Türkiye, 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 products into various countries or repatriate cash from outside the United States;
•increased sovereign risk, such as defaults 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, energy policy or restrictions, 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 separation of the United Kingdom’s 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.) The nature and degree of the various risks we face can also differ significantly among our regions and businesses.
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, stock price, 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, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. 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, results of operations and stock price.
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, cash flows and stock price.
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 number of services important to conducting our business, including 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 “2017 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. In addition, we are experiencing new and more frequent attempts by third parties to gain access to our systems, such as through increased email phishing of our workforce.
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 digital commerce and direct sales, that increase the amount of confidential information that we process and maintain increase our potential exposure to 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, results of operations and stock price 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 transfer data across local, regional, and 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 became effective in May 2018 and has greatly increased the
jurisdictional reach of E.U. law, 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, requires greater transparency in handling personal information from consumers by imposing new responsibilities for the handling, disclosure and deletion of personal information for consumers. 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. Regulations to implement the CCPA were finalized in August 2020. In addition, new privacy regulations, such as the California Privacy Rights Act, which grants a private right of action to individuals, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act and the Colorado Privacy Act, will enter into effect in 2023. Our efforts to comply with multijurisdictional privacy and data protection laws and the uncertainty of new laws and regulations will likely increase the complexity of our processes and 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 interdependent supply chain – a complex network of suppliers and material needs, owned and leased manufacturing locations, external manufacturing partners, 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, natural disasters, water and energy availability, supply and commodity shortages, terrorism, political unrest, cybersecurity incidents, labor shortages, strikes, operational and/or financial instability of our key suppliers and other vendors or service providers, government shutdowns or health pandemics such as COVID-19, including any potential impact of climate change on these factors, could damage or disrupt our operations or those of our suppliers, their suppliers, our external manufacturing partners, distributors or other business partners. 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 2017 malware incident, and the quality and safety of our products might be negatively affected. Moreover, disputes with significant customers or suppliers, including disputes regarding pricing or performance, could adversely affect our sales, financial condition, and results of operations. 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. We are subject to risk related to operational safety, including risk of fire, explosion or accidental contamination. We could also fail 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, cash flows and stock price.
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, wheat, palm oil, soy, dairy, 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 labor and the transportation and delivery of our products. Costs of raw materials, energy and other supplies and services 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; changes in environmental or trade policy and regulations, alternative energy and agricultural programs; severe weather; agricultural productivity; crop disease or pests; water risk; health pandemics including COVID-19; forest fires; and consumer or industrial demand. Many of these conditions are or could be exacerbated or worsened by climate change. 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. Our work to monitor our exposure to commodity prices and hedge against input price increases cannot fully protect us from changes in commodity costs due to factors like market illiquidity, specific local regulations and downstream costs. Thus our hedging strategies have not always protected and will not in the future always 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 inflation and 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 like transportation, such as we experienced across our business, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom, primarily in the second half of 2021, 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, if increased prices affect demand for our products, or if we are limited by supply or distribution constraints, our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and stock price 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, and acquisitions and joint ventures are an important part of our strategy to increase our exposure to fast-growing snacking segments, fill geographic white spaces and expand into adjacent categories. 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; 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. Equity investments such as our investments in JDE Peet’s N.V. and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., joint ventures and other strategic alliances pose additional risks, as we could 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. 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, cash flows and stock price.
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 that expose us to physical and transition risk. Physical risks include increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters and effects on water availability and quality. These impacts increase risks to 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 dairy, wheat, vegetable oils, sugar and nuts. Weather events such as floods, severe storms or water shortages that are partially caused or exacerbated by climate change might disrupt our business operations or those of our suppliers, their suppliers, our external manufacturing partners, distributors or other business partners.
Transition risks include increased focus by federal, state and local regulatory and legislative bodies globally regarding environmental policies relating to climate change, regulating greenhouse gas emissions, energy policies and sustainability, including single use plastics. New legal and regulatory requirements have increased and could continue to increase our operating costs for things like energy or packaging through taxes or regulations, including payments under extended producer responsibility policies, taxes on specific packaging material types and targets to increase the use of reuse/refill delivery models. Increasing regulation of carbon taxes could also substantially increase our product supply chain and distribution costs. Concern about climate change might cause consumer preferences to switch away from products or ingredients considered to have high climate change impact and towards products that are more sustainably grown and made, and we expect to incur additional costs as we evolve our portfolio and engage in due diligence, verification and reporting in connection with our ESG and sustainability initiatives. We might not 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. Those stakeholders might also have requests or proposals that are not aligned with the focus of our efforts on climate change and ESG matters. Climate change-related impacts could also reduce demand for our products. If costs for raw materials increase or availability decreases, we raise prices for our products and our competitors respond differently to those cost or availability pressures, demand for our products and our market share could suffer. We have also experienced decreased demand for chocolate during periods when temperatures are warmer.
In 2021, we announced our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Achieving this goal will require significant transformation of our business, capital investment and the development of technology that might not currently exist. We might incur significant additional expense or be required to recognize impairment charges in connection with our efforts, and we might be unable to achieve our goal.
Any or all of these risks could materially and adversely affect our ability to meet the needs of our customers, reputation, product sales, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and stock price.
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, digital 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 growth of alternative online retail channels, such as direct-to-consumer and electronic 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 such as that caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers may not buy our products if they perceive little difference between the quality or value of our products and those of retailer or other economy brands. If 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, cash flows and stock price.
We are subject to changes in our relationships with significant customers, suppliers and distributors.
During 2021, our five largest customers accounted for 16.7% 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 a significant customer could result in a material reduction in sales or change in the mix of products we sell to the customer. This could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and stock price.
Disputes with significant customers, suppliers or distributors, including disputes related to pricing or performance, could adversely affect our ability to supply or deliver products or operate our business and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations. The financial condition of our significant customers and business partners are affected by events that are largely beyond our control such as the COVID-19 pandemic. New regulations can also affect our commercial practices and our relationship with customers, suppliers or distributors. Deterioration in the financial condition of significant customers, suppliers or distributors or regulations affecting our relationship with these parties could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and stock price.
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. We could experience unplanned or increased turnover of employees with key capabilities, or fail to develop adequate succession plans for leadership positions or hire and retain a workforce with the skills and in the locations we need to operate and grow our business. We could also fail to attract and develop personnel with key emerging capabilities that we need to continue to respond to changing consumer and customer needs and grow our business, including skills in the areas of digital commerce and marketing, data analytics, and procurement and supply chain expertise. Occurrence of any of these conditions could deplete our institutional knowledge base and erode our competitiveness.
We are experiencing an increasingly tight and competitive labor market and could face unforeseen challenges in the availability of labor, such as we have experienced since the outbreak of COVID-19. A sustained labor shortage or increased turnover rates within our employee base caused by COVID-19 or related issues such as vaccine mandates, or as a result of general macroeconomic factors, have led and in the future could lead to increased costs, such as increased overtime to meet demand and increased wages to attract and retain employees. We have also been negatively affected and could continue to be negatively affected by labor shortages or constraints experienced by our partners, including our external manufacturing partners and freight providers. Failure to achieve and maintain a diverse workforce and leadership team, compensate our employees competitively and fairly, maintain a safe and inclusive environment or promote the well-being of our employees 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 61% of our 68,000 employees outside the United States and approximately 28% of our 11,000 U.S. employees. Strikes such as the one we experienced in some of our U.S. manufacturing and distribution facilities in 2021, work stoppages, or other forms of labor unrest by our employees or those of our suppliers, distributors or other business partners, or situations like the renegotiation of collective bargaining agreements, have in the past and may in the future cause disruptions to our supply chain, manufacturing or distribution processes. Changes in immigration laws and policies or restrictions such as those imposed in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic could make it more difficult for us to recruit or relocate skilled employees. We could also fail to effectively respond to evolving perceptions and goals of those in our workforce or whom we might seek to hire, including in response to changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with respect to flexible working or other matters.
These risks could materially and adversely affect our reputation, ability to efficiently operate our manufacturing facilities and overall business and meet the needs of our customers, product sales, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and stock price.
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. Evolving expectations on ESG disclosures and reporting will also result in new regulatory actions at a corporate and brand level.
Following Brexit in 2020, a new trade arrangement was reached between the U.K. and E.U. that began on January 1, 2021. We have experienced disruptions to our local supply chain and distribution, including those related to the recent transportation labor shortage in the U.K. Inflationary cost pressures increased in our U.K. business in 2021, as we also experienced in other markets. If the U.K.’s separation from, or new trade arrangements with, the E.U. negatively impact the U.K. economy or result in disagreements on trade terms, delays affecting our supply chain or distribution, disruptions to sales or collections, or further increases in inflationary cost pressures, the impact to our results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and stock price could be material. (See