As the Ukraine crisis continues, plastics-related firms are making decisions on how they do business with Russia.
Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24. The conflict is now in its fourth week, as Ukrainian forces have offered stiff resistance. Many Western countries have provided Ukraine with military support.
The conflict is also affecting plastics firms by driving oil and natural gas prices higher, which likely will lead to higher resin prices as well.
LyondellBasell Industries of Houston, a major global resin supplier, has said it will turn down new business opportunities with Russian state-owned entities and plans to discontinue existing business with those entities as well. The firm is also donating $220,000 to relief efforts in Ukraine. LyondellBasell has two offices in Russia but no production sites.
More recently, materials firm Nova Chemicals of Calgary, Alberta, donated to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal and announced that it will match employee donations up to an additional $25,000.
"While we do not have colleagues or operations in Ukraine, many throughout our Nova family are of Ukrainian and Eastern European descent and are concerned about friends and loved ones in the region," Senior Vice President Mona Jasinski said.
Industrial firm Teijin Ltd. of Japan also said it will donate more than $80,000 through the United Nations Children's Fund and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees as humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
Other plastics-related firms are making different responses to the crisis. Global packaging firm Greif Inc. of Delaware, Ohio, has temporarily closed its Ukraine plant but is continuing to operate in Russia, officials said in a statement sent to Plastics News.
"We are extremely upset and aghast by the aggressive actions of the Russian government," they added. "While we condemn the actions taken by the Russian government and have frozen all further investment in Russia, we remain in full support of our 540 Russian colleagues, many of whom are long tenured.
"Their livelihood is important to us, and we continue to operate in Russia as a means of safeguarding their well-being. We have established an internal task force that is meeting multiple times per week to stay abreast of unfolding events in the Ukraine. We will continue to assess the situation."
Greif was one of 27 public firms identified by Yale University's School of Management as "defying demands for exit or reduction of activities" in Russia. Yale also identified more than 400 firms that have exited or reduced their operations there.
Plastics and chemicals firm Evonik Industries is also remaining in Russia for the time being. Officials with Evonik in Essen, Germany, said earlier this month that the firm plans to continue selling material to Russia, which accounts for only 1 percent of its sales. Plastics-related products made by Evonik include nylon resins and specialty foams.
CEO Christian Kullmann said Evonik would follow sanctions that have been implemented, which have not covered many chemical products so far.
"In view of sanctions … we can still do business with Russia [and it] will continue," he added. "These are businesses with feedstock, which are needed by the population of Russia, and they are not our enemy. That is the Russian regime. … We will continue to care for and deliver goods to the Russian population to the extent it is allowed."
Plastics-related firms identified by Yale as having reduced their business in Russia include Avery Dennison, 3M, Clorox, Honeywell International, Lego, Bosch, Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble.