Support for the Ukraine

Jun 27, 2022 | Featured Article, Lifting The Lid

Many of the leading paint suppliers stand united in condemning the invasion of Ukraine and are suspending, downsizing or exiting all operations in Russia

AkzoNobel generated about two per cent of its revenue in Russia prior to the start of the conflict and has 640 colleagues in the country. Its Aerospace Coatings activities and new investments and marketing activities have already been suspended. As a result of the latest EU sanctions, the majority of AkzoNobel’s coatings business in Russia is being suspended and the residual Russian business will be locally operated. The company says: “We’re evaluating the situation daily and it might be that more of the remaining business in Russia could come to a halt in the next months, especially due to the practical difficulties around the supply of raw materials in Russia.”

Hempel has announced the permanent closure of its operations in Russia. The decision to exit follows Hempel’s announcement on 1 March of the suspension of all activities in the country. Following a strategic review of its presence in Russia, Hempel decided to initiate a controlled exit from Russia, and is considering different scenarios. Hempel has had a presence in Russia since 1996 and employs 124 employees there.
Hempel earlier announced the cessation of its operations in Russia, specifically stopping all deliveries into and out of Russia, stopping all deliveries in Russia, stopping taking orders in Russia and completing a safe closure of its production in Ulyanovsk.
“We are deeply saddened to watch the war in Ukraine continue to unfold. In March, we suspended our activities in Russia, based on the increasingly difficult trading environment,” says Lars Petersson, Group President and CEO at Hempel. “We have now made the decision to step away from our business in Russia. We will do our utmost to safeguard the future employment of our colleagues in Russia and we thank them for their loyal service to Hempel. Our focus continues to be on the support and safety of our employees in the region and while we regret this outcome, we feel we do not have any other option.”
Hempel says it continues to monitor developments and always adheres to international rules and sanctions.


Controlled exit

Teknos is also planning a controlled exit from Russian market and is considering different scenarios. On 4th March, Teknos announced suspension of its operations in Russia, and on 12th April business scaling down measures were implemented.

“We are sad to see the war in Ukraine continue to unfold,” says Paula Salastie, Teknos CEO and owner of Teknos Group. “Due to evolution of the situation and circumstances, we do not see any possibility to conduct our business in this environment. Taking into consideration the worsening local business conditions, we have decided to start planning an exit from Russian market. I want to thank our employees for their commitment and all business partners for cooperation and trust. Our aim is to find an entity that may carry on the business.”

Teknos has been present in Russia since 2005 with offices in Moscow and a new, fit for purpose production plant in St. Petersburg. Teknos’ St. Petersburg modern production plant was opened in June 2015. Teknos has been – prior to the suspension – selling the full range of Teknos branded products.

PPG, of which Tikkurila has been a part since 2021, is scaling down its operations in Russia. Since the war in Ukraine began, the company’s highest priority has been to protect the safety and wellbeing of its employees, including those from Ukraine and those located within Russia.

Since the war began, PPG says it has made immediate decisions to refrain from sales to Russian state-owned entities, parties that fall within the scope of recent regulations and the aerospace market. The company is also not making any new investments and has taken steps to wind down various other operations in Russia.

The company says: “We intend to continue to sell a minimum amount of essential products in Russia because it is necessary to generate local currency in order to maintain employment and meet payroll. The company plans to donate net profits, if any, generated by our Russian operations for full calendar year 2022 to non profit organisations providing direct humanitarian support.

Jotun has also decided to suspend its operations in Russia until further notice. “We have been operating in Russia for a long time. We have a good team and a modern production site there. However, based on an overall assessment, we now find it both right and necessary to shut down,” explains Jotun’s President and CEO Morten Fon. “Jotun is deeply concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the ongoing crisis,” he says.

Jotun has been present in Russia since 1989 and has had its own local production since 2017. With more than 300 employees in the country, Russia accounts for between two and three per cent of Jotun’s operating revenues.

Jotun has no legal entity or facilities in Ukraine, but has four employees in the country. The safety of the employees in Ukraine and Russia is Jotun’s major concern.



Humanitarian support

AkzoNobel says it will continue to provide all its employees with whatever it can to support them in these difficult times, as safety, integrity and sustainability are the core values of the company. It has also launched a company-wide donation-matching campaign to help provide humanitarian aid for Ukraine, with €250,000 having been raised in the first month. The money has been handed over to its partner, the Disaster Emergency Committee. The initiative carried on throughout April, with the company adding three times the amount donated by employees. This comes on top of the €140,000 donated by its European Decorative Paints organisation. In addition, workers have launched various local initiatives, which have resulted in funds being donated to SOS Children’s Villages, and accommodation being provided for refugees. The company is also supporting volunteer efforts from employees, which range from sorting out paperwork and helping refugees find shelter, to donating paint for renovating temporary shelters.

Hempel is taking a number of actions to support not only its colleagues with immediate family in Ukraine that are affected, but also the Ukrainian population.

Hempel are working to support all of our employees with Ukrainian family that are affected by the current crisis. It is offering these colleagues and their immediate family members financial support to cover the costs of evacuating to a neighbouring country, temporary housing on route and at their final destination, assistance in finding appropriate accommodation and psychological support through a network of crisis psychologists.

The company is also raising funds for the Red Cross. In Denmark, Hempel is encouraging colleagues to support the Red Cross with donations. Anything that is donated by colleagues here, Hempel will double that amount. It is also looking into similar activities at its locations around the world.


The Hempel Foundation
Hempel’s owner, the Hempel Foundation, has granted a donation of EUR 1 million for emergency relief in Ukraine to help and support the people of Ukraine and those who have already fled the country.

The Hempel Foundation wishes to acknowledge and support the work of NGOs across sectors and the need for urgent and comprehensive emergency relief. The donation will be equally disbursed between seven organisations immediately to deliver essential humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine.

The seven organisations are UNICEF, Save the Children, Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), SOS Børnebyerne, Human Rights Watch and UNHCR.


Saddened by the war


Teknos says: “We are all touched and saddened by the war in Ukraine. To provide some support and relief, Teknos has donated €50,000 for the victims of the war. The donation aims to provide medicine and other humanitarian necessities to the Ukrainian people.”

Currently there is a huge need of medicine, food and other necessities in Ukraine as supply chains have been disrupted and many shops and pharmacies are closed. Hundreds of thousands of people, primarily women and children, are fleeing the war with little or no personal belongings.

“The situation in Ukraine is constantly in the minds and hearts of the Teknos family. I hope our donation can in some small way contribute in alleviating the hardship of the families in the area,” says Paula Salastie, CEO and Owner of Teknos Group Oy.

The donation is being carried out through the Family Business Network, of which Teknos is a part. The Erns Prost organisation, which operates in Poland and Germany, is coordinates with local partners to ensure that the help lands where needed the most.


Longer-term recovery support

To support the urgent needs and extreme hardships of the developing refugee crisis, PPG on March 1 made an initial donation of $250,000 to humanitarian relief, as well as longer-term recovery support. This included a $50,000 match of employee donations

PPG is continuing to closely monitor developments in the region and the requirement for any additional support needs. Local teams will continue to provide direct support to affected families, especially in the European countries near Ukraine, including Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova.

With more than three million refugees leaving Ukraine for safety, support and shelter, PPG has announced that it will extend the company match to $100,000, provide another $150,000 to nonprofits providing humanitarian support, and also direct additional community giving budgets to help in this time of need. In total, PPG has now committed more than $450,000 in support. In addition, PPG employees have also been providing direct support to those in need, including taking refugee families into their homes.

Tikkurila has together with its owner PPG committed to humanitarian relief, as well as longer-term recovery support. To address immediate, essential needs of refugees arriving in countries where they have a presence, their commitment includes funding to relief organisations addressing immediate, essential needs:-

  • Polska Akcja Humanitarna, a relief organisation in Poland offering food and other forms of support to those arriving from Ukraine.
  • International Committee of the Red Cross, an organisation providing emergency supplies.
  • People in Need, an organisation headquartered in Czechia with a presence in Ukraine since 2003, providing humanitarian aid for basic needs such as food and hygiene items and supporting countries experiencing an influx of Ukrainian refugees.

The companies are also matching personal contributions of employees to charities dedicated to providing humanitarian support to Ukrainian refugees. As emerging needs are realised over the coming weeks and months, the companies have also committed to providing product donations to local organisations.

Tikkurila and PPG say: In times of crisis, we fulfil our company’s purpose to protect and beautify the world by helping our nonprofit partners adapt to emerging challenges and provide immediate responses. We are committed to supporting these organisations which are providing direct emergency aid.


Jotun donation

Jotun recognises the urgent need for humanitarian support for the civilian population in the affected areas and has donated NOK 3,000,000 to the Red Cross/Red Crescent for humanitarian work in the Ukraine.