Most effective aid is often a compilation of thousands of tiny acts of kindness. However, being a part of an international company affecting many industries, businesses and areas, it was important to take the right steps on a global level as well. In the begging of March this year Shell has taken several decisions to cut our ties to the Russian Federation, including withdrawal from join ventures with Gazprom and Nord Stream 2 project.
Parallel to our business decisions, we set up several donations and fundraisers. So far, we have donated more than 38 million złotys to various organisations that are directly helping those affected by the war. Polish Humanitarian Action, Ukraine Red Cross, or the State Agency for Strategic Reserves were able to buy crucial goods and necessities for both refugees crossing the borders from Ukraine and those who decided to stay in the country. On a global level we have launched the Match Giving campaign with Mercy Corps, where we doubled every donation made by an employee. It was important to us that we could also help beyond the Polish border. Shell teamed up with the National Fire Service to sponsor necessary equipment that Ukrainian fire fighters so desperately require providing help to those in need across the country.
Financial and organisational help is important and necessary. I am proud that we could bring such aid as a company. I am also both touched and grateful for the engagement of Shell’s employees in this tremendous effort to help. Thanks to their commitment our Shell Business Operations in Kraków has become almost a charity centre. As always, we focused particularly on safety: safety of our 1,500 staff in Ukraine, their families and families of our 200 Ukrainian colleagues working in Shell Polska. While we were organising safe transport, living quarters, food and a helpline in Kraków for those who wished to leave Ukraine, volunteers back in Poland were collecting donations of clothes, blankets, food and other necessities so much needed in those first weeks of the invasion. Those donations where sorted, packed up and send to Lviv.
In the first week of the war, more than 600,000 refugees crossed the Polish border, often with nothing more than a backpack and few personal belongings. Many NGOs and volunteers, also from our Kraków and Warsaw offices, have made their way to the bordering cities welcoming the refugees and organising their further transport into the country. We have donated 80,000 litres of petrol for 20 companies who have driven thousands of kilometres back and forth between the eastern border and various Polish cities. As a gesture of solidarity, we organised a campaign to give free coffee to uniformed service personnel working at the Polish border, as well as to fleet drivers with a Shell Card. The heated tent was launched at the Shell point in Chełm located 21 km from the border with Ukraine, where people in need could warm up and receive a free meal and drink. Our employees wishing to help at the border or in their hometowns, were given additional four days of fully paid leave.
We understand that much help will be needed in the long turn. We provide the Employee Assistance Programme to our colleagues to ensure addressing various emotions and stress factors in these difficult days. We are also starting further actions that will ease refugees’ settlement in Poland and support them in finding work and ways to develop in this new reality. At Shell we have decided to donate 1,200 used laptops as part of the #LaptopsForUkraine campaign. Shell Business Operation’s canteen prepares free meals every day that are later delivered to houses for refugees across Kraków. Looking into the future, we are constantly searching for ideas both simple and more complex to support our Ukrainian guests.
In recent years we as a company have talked a lot about our effort to minimise our effect on the climate and plans to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050 in step with society. We emphasise our commitment to cultural diversity, equity inclusion, ethical practises and social responsibility in general. As Shell we operate on six continents, creating a large team of many cultures, languages and histories. I believe that such an environment makes us that much more people-driven. That culture of diversity and global cooperation has taught us to care.
That’s why today I am proud to call Shell Poland a group of 5,000 amazing people who continue to come up with incredible ideas to bring help to those in need.