2020 was the year COVID-19 changed the world as we know it. The impacts were felt by individuals, communities, businesses and economies around the world. At Mondi, we share in the collective sorrow for all those affected. This motivates us to move forward with renewed determination to challenge the status quo and build a more sustainable future together.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged, our priority was the health and safety of our employees and their families. We acted quickly and decisively as a Group to ensure we could continue to work safely under changing local conditions and protocols.
We also have a responsibility to those communities where our mills contribute to providing essential services such as energy, heat and wastewater treatment. A central response team was set up to coordinate global efforts and supply over 1 million masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to operations worldwide. We defined best practice measures and communicated what needed to be put in place across sites so that people could safely continue their work.
This allowed us to continue to make products that are essential to everyday life, including materials for personal hygiene products and packaging for food, consumer goods and online deliveries.
Keeping supplies flowing
Ensuring business continuity for our customers, many of whom supply products that are vital to everyday life and public health, is an important responsibility. As the situation unfolded, securing the raw materials needed to keep serving our customers was a top priority.
There was a period early on when logistics – both inbound and outbound – were extremely difficult. Transport delays, evolving export restrictions and changes to laws and regulations created challenges for our procurement teams. Our global procurement network mobilised in response and reached new levels of collaboration.
One challenge was the increase in market demand for films, resins and solvents, which are used in PPE and hygiene components, as well as our packaging. Our procurement teams worked together, moving materials between operations to keep supplies flowing and production running.
Assisting local communities
The pandemic increased hygiene and safety concerns and exacerbated social challenges, such as poverty and food security. Our operations focused their social investments on local needs. Many targeted funds and in-kind donations to help tackle the local response with thousands of masks, PPE, medical and surgical raw materials donated to municipalities, health facilities and local organisations.
We provided €3.3 million of financial support to clinics, hospitals and governments in Poland, Slovakia and Russia. We also supported local health infrastructure, such as our mobile clinics in South Africa and Mondi Syktyvkar’s healthcare centre.
We also provided community relief by supporting disrupted services. For example, Mondi South Africa facilitated the supply of fresh water to remote communities and donated food parcels to over 2,250 vulnerable families.
Supporting our people
We actively supported people to adapt to new ways of working and balance the pressures of work and home life. This was an unsettling time and we took steps to look after the wellbeing of our people. Our leadership communicated personal messages, business teams shared stories of success and the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) was promoted across the business. There were messages of hope, resilience and togetherness – with many colleagues sharing the hashtag #StrongerTogether in internal communications and on social media.
We also ensured full salary payments for all employees on sick leave after contracting COVID-19. During the year, a total of 2,321 of our employees tested positive for COVID-19 and 8 sadly died with the disease. We recognise the pain and loss experienced by our people and their families and we have given support to those affected.
We are particularly grateful to the employees who kept our mills and plants running. Many made personal sacrifices including taking on longer shifts – a situation we have kept under close review and will adjust to normal as soon as it is practically possible. We even had teams volunteering to sleep in our mills so that we could continue producing essential products and supplying electricity and wastewater treatment for local communities. We adapted team rotation and shift models, introducing flexible shift times, providing nutritious meals and ensuring access to testing.
“It’s times like these that reinforce the importance of teamwork. I think we’ve shown tremendous agility, despite the challenges, and that’s testament to the efforts of everyone at Mondi. I can only emphasise my deepest gratitude to all those who have enabled us to keep serving our customers and communities.”
- Andrew King, Mondi Group CEO
Sustaining momentum out of a crisis
The COVID-19 crisis has driven transformation and increased the pace of social change. It has impacted our behaviour and made us all more aware of how connected we are – with each other and with nature. We have an opportunity to build on this momentum and look at how we operate as a society and as businesses. At Mondi, as we continue to adapt and innovate, we will challenge ourselves to find new ways to support our customers and drive lasting, positive change for society.