Koch Responds: The Crisis in Ukraine

The latest updates and statements on Koch Industries' response to the crisis in Ukraine will be shared here. We will continue to update this webpage with the latest developments and news to share. All previously released updates are included below.

Statement from Dave Robertson: Update on Operations in Russia

April 21, 2022

Below is an email Koch Industries President and COO Dave Robertson sent to Koch employees regarding operations in Russia.

 

Since the start of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine earlier this year, I’ve kept you apprised of our response given that Guardian Glass has approximately 600 employees at its two glass plants in Russia. Our primary focus has been on the safety of employees.  Sanctions announced in early April, combined with the Russian government’s response and other actions, have made conditions untenable for Guardian to continue operations in Russia. As a result, Guardian asked its Russian employees to shut down the two glass plants. When made aware of this plan, Russian authorities repeated earlier warnings that local Guardian employees would violate Russian law and be prosecuted and imprisoned if they followed through with any shutdown activities, further reinforcing our concerns for employees’ safety. Therefore, Guardian is working with its local management team to find an exit strategy that maintains our commitment to employees’ safety and does not result in the Russian government taking over the plants and financially benefiting from them. All other Koch companies, none with operating assets in Russia, have ended or are ending business activities there. As a company and as individuals, we have consistently condemned Russia’s action and remain united in support of all employees and others who are harmed by this terrible war.   Sincerely,

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Dave Robertson is the president and COO of Koch Industries. 

Koch Contributes $1.85 Million to Humanitarian Response in Ukraine

March 28, 2022

In response to the crisis in Ukraine, Koch Industries is providing $1.85 million in general support and employee assistance to humanitarian and refugee organizations in the region.

Teams across Koch companies have been working to ensure our support is distributed to ​organizations that can best provide direct, on-the-ground relief to refugees. 

Organizations receiving support from Koch Industries include:

  • Polish Humanitarian Action ($600,000) to provide medical assistance, shelter, food, hygiene kits, blankets and other necessities.
  • World Central Kitchen ($300,000) to leverage local resources to deploy food to first responders and serve those who need it most with hope and dignity.
  • International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies ($300,000) to connect relief efforts in the world’s largest humanitarian network.
  • UNHCR ($300,000) to ensure refugees have the right to seek asylum and find refuge in another country.
  • Koch Employee Assistance Fund ($350,000) to provide immediate financial aid to affected employees and contract employees. In addition, Koch employees have voluntarily contributed $55,000 to the fund to help their fellow employees.

Several Koch company employees in the region are actively providing clothing, shelter, and food support to refugees, particularly for women and children who are coming across the border from Ukraine. We commend these employees for their generosity and courage during such a difficult time.

We remain united in our support for all affected employees, their families and colleagues.

 

Statement from Dave Robertson: Update on Guardian Glass Facilities in Russia

March 24, 2022

Below is an email Koch Industries President and COO Dave Robertson sent to Koch employees regarding Koch company Guardian Industries' two glass facilities in Russia.

This March 24 update builds on Dave’s March 16 email to employees.

 

Over the last week, you likely have seen media coverage about Guardian’s glass business in Russia. I’m writing to share the details that much of the media have left out but are important for you to know. To be clear, Koch condemns the heinous actions of the Russian government in Ukraine, and shortly after learning of the invasion, Guardian suspended all new capital investments in Russia.

It is important to clarify why Guardian continues to operate these glass facilities. The health, safety and well-being of all Koch company employees is our top priority. As I wrote last week, abandoning the Guardian plants in Russia would put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good. This is true for multiple reasons.

Russian officials have threatened to punish local employees of manufacturing facilities that shut down. Specifically, the General Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow has warned foreign companies that shutting down their operations may lead to criminal prosecution of local employees, including up to seven years’ imprisonment. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov publicly issued the same threat to foreign companies considering exiting the country. We take these threats – and our commitment to our employees – very seriously.  

The Russian government has also stated that it would seize and continue to operate manufacturing facilities that are abandoned or closed. It’s important to note that glass plants cannot simply be shut off, as they are furnaces that typically run continuously for more than 20 years before being torn down and rebuilt. They do not turn on and off like a light switch. 
 
If Guardian were to walk away from these glass facilities, it would give full control of the assets to the Russian government, who we believe would keep them running and capture 100% of the financial benefit.
 
Finally, and contrary to false assertions, Guardian's operations do not aid the Russian war effort. None of the glass produced at the facilities in Russia is for military use. Eighty percent of the glass produced at these facilities is for residential, while the remainder is for office and commercial buildings.
 
This is an extremely volatile and uncertain situation in which we will continue to make decisions that we believe will avoid causing harm to our employees or Ukraine. This includes complying with all applicable sanctions, laws and regulations. We will closely monitor the situation and modify our decisions as circumstances warrant. We certainly understand that others will make decisions that are appropriate for their particular situations.

 

Sincerely,

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Dave Robertson is the president and COO of Koch Industries. 

Statement from Dave Robertson: The Crisis in Ukraine

March 16, 2022

The horrific and abhorrent aggression against Ukraine is an affront to humanity. It violates our company’s values and principles, which are grounded in the fundamental truth that the system most conducive to human wellbeing, progress, civility and peace is one based on respect for the dignity of the individual, the consistent rule of law and the right to freely exchange goods and services. Principles always matter, and they matter most when they are under pressure.   The health, safety and wellbeing of all employees is our top priority, including our employees in Ukraine, Russia, and thousands more across Europe at various Koch companies. Since the conflict started, Koch has provided financial assistance to employees and their families from Ukraine and humanitarian aid to those affected in neighboring countries, and we will continue to do so.   Koch company Guardian Industries operates two glass manufacturing facilities in Russia that employ about 600 people. We have no other physical assets in Russia, and outside of Guardian, employ 15 individuals in the country. While Guardian’s business in Russia is a very small part of Koch, we will not walk away from our employees there or hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government so it can operate and benefit from them (which is what The Wall Street Journal has reported they would do). Doing so would only put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good.   To be clear, Koch companies are complying with all applicable sanctions, laws and regulations governing our relationships and transactions within all countries where we operate. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you updated as needed.

Sincerely,

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Dave Robertson is the president and COO of Koch Industries. 

See Dave's other communications on the crisis in Ukraine to Koch employees on March 1 and March 10.