The world's largest flooring manufacturer, Paris-based Tarkett Group, continues to operate in both war-torn Ukraine and heavily sanctioned Russia, where it employs a total of 1,925 people.
Tarkett officials said through a company spokesman that they hope the conflict will end soon to protect the lives of the people in Ukraine under attack since Feb. 24.
Tarkett has Eastern European manufacturing operations in Kalush, Ukraine; Otradny and Mytishchi, Russia; and Bačka Palanka, Serbia, as well as showrooms that opened in 2021 in Moscow and Kyiv, Ukraine.
"Our plant in Kalush is still operating at a slower pace. It has not suffered material damages so far," the Tarkett spokesman said in an email, adding the company has 375 employees in Kalush, which is in western Ukraine about 56 miles from Lviv.
A local management team has continuous contact with employees in Ukraine and border countries to closely monitor the situation, the spokesman said.
The company also is providing financial assistance and a help line for psychological support.
"Support from Tarkett teams at different locations [is] rapidly being deployed to help our colleagues face this situation and several initiatives have been put in place," the spokesman said. "We are creating an internal solidarity fund, Tarkett Foundation, to provide financial support to our employees in Ukraine and their families and to which Tarkett and [its] shareholders are also contributing."
Founded in 1880, Tarkett manufactures vinyl, linoleum, rubber, carpet, wood and laminate flooring, artificial turf and athletics tracks at 34 sites in 19 countries employing about 12,000 people.
Some of the other initiatives undertaken by individual Tarkett employees and teams for their Ukraine colleagues include collections of food and goods, blood drives and even providing shelter for partners and families in a Kalush building.
"Today, it is accommodating about 12 people from unsafe areas," the spokesman said.
The Ukraine plant produces linoleum and a range of PVC coatings for commercial, sports and anti-slip uses.
Meanwhile, in Russia, it's business as usual at the Otradny site, which is the world's largest linoleum plant. Tarkett produces flexible PVC linoleum there for household, commercial and industrial applications.
The facility has done business as Tarkett AO since 2000, generating about $214.3 million in sales, according to Dun & Bradstreet.
The Otradny plant has the capacity to produce up to 114 million square meters of flooring annually, according to the Tarkett website.
The plant in Mytishchi started production of laminate in 2010 and has a maximum capacity of 12 million square meters of flooring per year. The factory manufactures more than 300 laminate designs and in spring 2019 also began producing parquet boards.
"Our Russian operations have been managed via a local entity for years," the Tarkett spokesman said, adding the Otradny facility almost exclusively serves the Russian and Belarusian markets.
Tarkett Group has been called out on Twitter for not joining McDonald's, Starbucks, Amazon and almost 200 other companies that suspended operations and sales.
Another 200 companies have curtailed most operations, about 30 have reduced some operations, about 70 have postponed planned investments, and about 40 are operating without any reduced activity, according a team of research fellows and students at the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute.
The Tarkett spokesman said the company is complying with laws and regulations that are applicable to its business under current U.S. and European sanctions.
"The group is also keenly aware of its responsibility as an employer towards the men and women ... who have been working at Tarkett in Russia and who have shown professionalism, commitment and loyalty over the past 20 years," the spokesman added.
In addition, Tarkett Group has human rights policy on its website that says ethics and integrity are the cornerstone of its values.
"Respect for human rights is an essential part of our vision of a world where everyone is treated equally and with dignity," the statement says.
The impact of Tarkett business on local communities and society as a whole is continuously monitored and addressed, according to the statement.
"In its own distinctive way, Tarkett is Russian in Russia, American in the United States and Chinese in China," the statement says.
The business sentiment was repeated in a universal registration document posted March 30 to the company website. The document also takes stock of geopolitical risks.
About 10 percent of Tarkett Group sales are generated in Russia, the document also says.