Huhtamaki donates EUR 0.5 million for COVID-19 emergency relief

Joins forces with the International Red Cross to protect people, food, and the planet

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The global outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis has led to a critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE). Bloc Blinds, a blind manufacturing company, switched to produce face shields in answer to that demand. Ciaran Doherty, General Manager Foodservice UK at Huhtamaki saw an opportunity to help automate the process, because initially the production was relying heavily on manual work. Photo - Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki has announced a donation of EUR 0.5 million (approximately Rs 4 crore) in support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) COVID-19 appeal. The funds will be channeled via Finnish Red Cross to go towards boosting emergency relief efforts in Asia and Europe and improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted people’s health, safety and livelihoods in ways that were unimaginable only a couple of months ago. These unprecedented times reaffirm Huhtamaki’s commitment to protect people, food, and the planet.

“Huhtamaki plays an essential role in ensuring food safety and availability and reducing food waste, as acknowledged by governments internationally. This contribution is only one part of our support towards alleviating the impact of the pandemic globally. We have partnered with the International Red Cross, a leading global organization, to do our share in helping tackle the humanitarian aspect of the COVID-19 crisis. This emergency affects us all, regardless of where we are around the world, and together we can make a difference where it is most needed,” says Charles Héaulmé, president and chief executive officer of Huhtamaki.

“It is important for industry to do its part in helping the fight against COVID-19. Huhtamaki’s donation will go a long way in enabling us to address health and safety of people in Europe and Asia as these situations evolve,” says Tiina Saarikoski, acting director of Finnish Red Cross International Operations and Programmes.

Huhtamaki has also asked management teams across its 81 locations globally to reach out and see where they can lend a hand to the local community. For example, Huhtamaki has started to produce face shields for healthcare workers together with a local partner in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Initially, 4 million face shields will be produced every week for HSCNI, the publicly funded service which provides health and social care services in Northern Ireland. Huhtamaki is looking to ramp up the production up to 6 million every week and investigating whether the shields can be produced in other locations, too. Huhtamaki is also donating its products to health care systems, for example over 6 million foodservice products to hospitals and nursing homes in Europe to ensure food hygiene and safety. The company is looking at other opportunities to help going forward.

“If there is anything this outbreak has emphasized, it is how interconnected and dependent we are globally. Our initiative today underlines our commitment to protecting people, food and the planet,” says Héaulmé.

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