United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit


Each year, the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit brings together thousands of forward-thinking business leaders, SDG stakeholders, activists, policymakers and emerging leaders from across the globe who are taking action on the SDGs and shaping the future. Leaders Summit 2022 took place on June 1-2. The purpose of the event was to discuss the collective and individual evaluation of the sustainability journey from addressing global themes and trends to the resources and tools needed to accelerate progress in the business.

The «Businesses’ Humanitarian Response to the War in Ukraine» session was focused on the response of the business sector in Europe to the war in Ukraine and examining further opportunities to respond to humanitarian needs.

Volodymyr Kostiuk, CEO at Farmak, was the only representative of Ukrainian business on this panel. He shared his experience of managing the business in wartime:

«Our offices are based in Kyiv and Shostka. Since the beginning of the full-scale military aggression of Russia in Ukraine, our primary task has been to provide a sustainable supply of medicines to civilians and the army. Not only for those who were wounded but also for the patients with chronic diseases. During the first day of the full-scale war, we suspended our productions in Kyiv and Shostka as these cities were under constant missile attack.

In the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our big warehouse filled with finished products, substances, packaging, and other relevant raw materials was under air strikes. I still keep a deactivated missile at my office. We counted the losses there up to fifty million dollars. Despite this, we managed to relaunch our manufacturing in the middle of March, even in Shostka, the city almost totally surrounded by the Russian army.

Understanding our responsibility, our people choose to work under constant shelling at the air strikes. Another problem for us is logistics as air transportation and sea ports are blocked and some highways are either partially or totally blocked.

Because of the destroyed warehouse, we had to find an alternative source of cash. Farmak is grateful for the helping hand from EBRD. Also, the company continues to sell medicines abroad. We are proud to manage to keep the absolute majority of our staff.»

Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer at Schneider Electric, stressed that the first priority for the company is the safety of its employees. That is why Schneider Electric organized the relocation of Ukrainians who work for the company. It became possible because of heroic efforts, volunteering and generosity of Schneider Electric’s employees in European countries such as Poland, the Check Republic, Germany, Spain, Italy and Romania.

Also, Gwenaelle Avice-Huet commented on the role of Schneider Electric in Mental Help project launched by the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine:

«We see a very tense situation in terms of mental help. This project by the Ukrainian Local Network is so important today. We decided to contribute to the Mental Help project to provide Ukrainians of all ages, genders, and social statuses with psychological support. I want to thank Global Compact Ukraine because their project aims to rebuild the future.»

Lux Med, a Polish medical company, provides Ukrainian refugees in Poland with comprehensive assistance. Anna Rulkiewicz, CEO at Lux Med, noted:

«On the next day after the war started, we created a special package for refugees from Ukraine. It was very natural for us because our mission is to save people’s lives.»

Skanska does not operate in Ukraine but has offices in neighboring countries close to Ukraine. After the Russian invasion started, in a team meeting, each employee asked how to help Ukraine. Anna Wiśniewska, Marketing and Communications Director at Skanska, noted that because of employees’ initiative, the company turned its empty offices in Warsow into hubs for 500 Ukrainian refugees where people could stay with their pets.

We are grateful to all speakers for their deep discussion and real actions of help Ukrainians in need. Also, special thanks to Kareem Elbayar, Program Coordinator, United Nations OCHA / Connecting Business initiative, for the professional moderation of the panel.

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