After the outbreak of war in Ukraine at the end of February this year, we intensively analysed both the scenarios of continuing operations by our subsidiary Śnieżka-Ukraina, employing approximately 200 staff, and the scenario of withdrawing from the Russian market.
The highest priority for us was the safety of our employees and their families, which is why on February 25 this year, upon the decision of the General Director of Śnieżka-Ukraina, Marek Pawluś, we temporarily suspended production at our Ukrainian production plant. This plant is located in Yavoriv, in the Lviv region, around 20 km from the Polish border. At that time, we also suspended deliveries to our customers. Concurrently, we monitored the movement of some of our sales representatives from the east to the west of Ukraine and organized assistance for members of our Ukrainian team, responding to their most urgent needs, as well as paying their salaries in advance.
Subsequently, we took steps to terminate our operations in Russia, where we had previously sold our paints, wood products and other construction chemicals on a small scale. Some time ago, we terminated commercial contracts and settled the last invoices, but due to the fact that we generated only 1% of our revenues on the Russian market, we have not informed about it in a separate release so far. Currently, no sales are conducted in Russia.
Hand in hand to help
Since the outbreak of the war, we have been in constant touch with the employees of Śnieżka-Ukraina, propping up not only them, but also those entities supported by our Ukrainian team. On the Polish side, the action is coordinated by our rapid response team, yet many employees of Śnieżka’s Polish companies are involved in it, who provide great support to their Ukrainian colleagues. Most importantly, however, from the very beginning, the aid operation beyond our eastern border has been coordinated by members of the Śnieżka-Ukraina team, who decided to stay put. We take pride in them greatly!
To ensure that the assistance was as effective as possible, at the very end of February, together with the General Director of Śnieżka-Ukraine, we created a special communication path with our Ukrainian employees. As part of the on-going exchange of information, our coordinators on the Ukrainian side create a base of needs so that we, as the Polish side, can react in a precise and organized manner.
Help has many faces
The help offered by Śnieżka to Ukrainians takes various forms.
In the first days of the conflict, it was essential to provide transport and shelter to those who had the opportunity to leave for Poland. On the other hand – it was necessary to help the refugees fleeing from the central and eastern parts of Ukraine, waiting in queues to the border on the Ukrainian side, which were as long as 30 km, reaching far beyond Yavoriv. Also, to satisfy the basic needs of the groups of refugees, we bought necessary products, which were then transported to Ukraine by vans. At that time, the Śnieżka-Ukraina’s team became volunteers: directing traffic, bringing help and – with supplies of products from Poland – taking care of food for people exhausted by a multi-day journey.
At a later stage, the company purchased and delivered to Ukraine further donations, including: food, medicines, specialized dressing materials, clothing and equipment such as sleeping mats or sleeping bags, as well as, for example, flashlights or portable gas stoves. Moreover, we initiated a fundraiser, thanks to which each of our employees could contribute to the aid aimed at Ukraine. Every zloty raised is used for additional purchases for subsequent convoys directed to Śnieżka’s volunteers on the other side of the border. So far, as part of the employee fundraising event, we have already collected over 18,000 zlotys.
The Śnieżka Foundation also joined to support the Ukrainian children who arrived in Dębica. The little ones, together with their mothers and carers, found help in the Daily Support Centres “Zgrana Paka” operating at the local Municipal Social Welfare Centre. The Foundation earmarked funds for this purpose in the amount of PLN 10,000, which were allocated to purchase educational materials and the prepare snacks for the children in three currently operating day care centres.
By October 2022, Śnieżka allocated a total of over PLN 320,000 to help Ukraine – not counting the fundraiser initiated by its employees and Foundation’s support.