Sun flowers under a blue sky (Picture: pixabay.com)
KNAUER CEOs, Alexandra Knauer and Carsten Losch are impressed by the helpfulness of their workforce (Photo: KNAUER/Amin Akhtar)
War has been raging in Ukraine for over a month now – with the devastation caused resulting in an outpouring of sympathy for those impacted and a desire to help from Europe and from the rest of the world. Many countries have shown an unprecedented level of unity and solidarity with Ukraine by imposing sanctions against Russia but there are tangible worries that the impact of sanctions is too slowly felt to cause the rapid change needed. As a result, the President of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Selensky, is calling for more urgent support for his country.
How exactly Ukraine should be assisted during direct conflict is a political question, but that does not mean that businesses and individuals cannot do anything to help. The example set by a Zehlendorf-based family company shows how businesses and their staff can work together to help.
"KNAUER stands for a peaceful, cooperative and democratic Europe. The Russian attack on Ukraine is an attack on these values. The team and we as management want to help the people of Ukraine and the refugees fleeing the violence" shared Managing Director Alexandra Knauer, who’s company has begun to help Ukraine in several ways.
The first action KNAUER put into place was the collection of urgently needed items from employees, which were donated to the association “Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin e.V.” to then be distributed to refugees. This was shortly followed by KNAUER giving their 165 employees the option to make tax-free donations taken directly from their salaries.1 Each employee could decide for themselves if they are in a financial position to donate and, if so, how much of a donation they could afford - this number was then simply shared with the HR office. German Federal Ministry of Finance accepts this donation option as an exception, e.g., in the case of humanitarian disasters - as is now the case for Ukraine aid.2 This has no impact on social security obligations for any employees.
Within a week 13,450 Euros was collected from staff donations and transferred to "Aktion Deutschland hilft – Nothilfe Ukraine".3 KNAUER’s management then donated 36,550 Euros to "Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin e.V. ",4 bringing the company’s donation to a grand total of 50,000 Euros.
KNAUER, which is celebrating its 60th year in business this year, is also involved in the Health Industry Committee of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Alexandra Knauer is a dedicated member of the committee – also a supporter of the organisation Ukraine-Hilfe-Berlin. Following the organisation’s list of requirements, several deliveries of important medical products have already been collected for Ukraine. In addition, one of the committee members, a wellness hotel, is currently providing accommodation for 35 refugees in Berlin. The KNAUER’s fundraising activities were highlighted as best practice in supporting Ukraine in the Berlin Chamber of Commerce’s most recent newsletter.
Employees have also been privately taking on the task of helping those impacted by the war. For example, some have made trips over the weekends to Poland’s border with Ukraine to deliver supplies and pick up refugees, whilst others have been volunteering at shelters in Berlin. One employee, with the permission and financial support of the management, borrowed a company car to take aid to the border and to help bring a family of refugees back to Berlin.
"I was very impressed by this great willingness to help and I am proud of my team and their big hearts. Our thoughts are with the people in Ukraine" said Alexandra Knauer.
There are also employees who are paying extra special attention to reducing their energy consumption as a means of reducing dependence on Russian oil and gas. Many are leaving their cars on their drives – something that can be noticed by the busy bike sheds at the KNAUER headquarters.
KNAUER supports the economic sanctions against Russia and has opted for a voluntary supply freeze to the country. In concrete terms, this means that the company will not deliver orders for laboratory systems worth EUR 300,000.
"We accept the economic disadvantages caused by stopping our deliveries to Russia. I have great respect for the resistance of the Ukrainians who are protecting their country and democracy - but also for those Russians in their country who have the courage to speak out critically about this war" said Carsten Losch, second managing director and sales manager at KNAUER.
KNAUER has been developing and manufacturing laboratory instruments for 60 years and is known for its liquid chromatography systems and components, which can be used for the sensitive separation of molecules. The systems can be used for chemical analysis as well as purification. High-pressure dosing applications and engineering services according to customer requirements are another important mainstay. Owner Alexandra Knauer, who runs the Berlin-based company together with Carsten Losch, advocates for sustainable and responsible corporate governance with a focus on users, employees and society. Learn more about KNAUER at https://www.knauer.net/
References (German language):
1) Details about „payroll giving“ (Wikipedia):
2) Tax code for donations to Ukraine (German Ministry of Finance):
3) Charity „Deutschland hilft – Nothilfe Ukraine“
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Press contact: Oliver Gültzow, firstname.lastname@example.org, +49 30 809727-43