Arla publishes Danish Government’s press release in Saudi papers
- 27 January 2006
- Press contact
Arla is ensuring that the press release issued by the Danish Government concerning the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons of the prophet Mohammed is published in Saudi Arabia.
In the press release, published on the Danish Embassy’s website, Denmark’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Hans Klingenberg, reiterates that Denmark respects all religions. As the press release, however, has not been carried by the Saudi press, Arla Foods has decided to pay for it to be published as an advertisement in Saudi Arabia’s leading national newspapers. The move is aimed at avoiding a further escalation of the boycott of Danish products following rising criticism of Jyllands-Posten’s actions in Saudi Arabia. The adverts are a straight reprint of the Ambassador’s statement without any additional comments by Arla, although the adverts make it clear that they have been paid for by Arla Foods.
”This is what we can do,” explained Executive Director Finn Hansen, Arla Foods. “Based on our many years of experience in the Saudi market, however, we’re not particularly hopeful that it will achieve the desired effect. The only thing that can stop the current boycott of Danish products is a direct dialogue between the parties involved.”
Besides recent calls for boycotting Danish products in Saudi Arabia, SMS messages and e-mails have been circulating the names of Arla’s products. In addition, several stores that continue to stock Arla products have marked Arla’s products “Danish products”.
Over the past few days, Arla has received a number of e-mails from across the world with diverse reactions to the Saudi Arabian boycott. Although many senders emphasise the right of free speech, many also express the opinion that it is unreasonable that Arla has become a victim of Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons.
Arla’s turnover in the Middle East is DKK 2.6 billion annually – of which DKK 1.2 billion derives from Saudi Arabia. The company employs a workforce of 1,000 in the region.
Arla Foods is an international dairy company owned by 9,900 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Arla Foods is one of the leading players in the international dairy arena with well-known brands like Arla®, Lurpak®, Puck® and Castello®. Arla Foods is focused on providing good dairy nourishment from sustainable farming and operations and is also the world's largest manufacturer of organic dairy products.