Packaging specialist Huhtamaki has started to produce face shields for healthcare workers together with a local partner in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Initially, four million face shields will be produced per week for HSCNI, the publicly funded service which provides health and social care services in Northern Ireland, butHuhtamaki is looking to ramp up the production up to six million per week and investigating whether the shields can be produced in other locations, too.

Huhtamaki is also donating its products to health care systems, for example over six million foodservice products to hospitals and nursing homes in Europe to ensure food hygiene and safety, and it is looking at other opportunities to help going forward.

The packaging giant has also announced a donation of  €0.5 million in support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) COVID-19 appeal. The funds will be channeled via Finnish Red Cross to go towards boosting emergency relief efforts in Asia and Europe and improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.

Charles Héaulmé, president and CEO of Huhtamaki said: “Huhtamaki plays an essential role in ensuring food safety and availability and reducing food waste, as acknowledged by governments internationally. This contribution is only one part of our support towards alleviating the impact of the pandemic globally. We have partnered with the International Red Cross, a leading global organisation, to do our share in helping tackle the humanitarian aspect of the COVID-19 crisis. This emergency affects us all, regardless of where we are around the world and together we can make a difference where it is most needed.

“It is important for industry to do its part in helping the fight against COVID-19. Huhtamaki’s donation will go a long way in enabling us to address health and safety of people in Europe and Asia as these situations evolve,” says Tiina Saarikoski, acting director of Finnish Red Cross International Operations and Programmes.

Huhtamaki has also asked management teams across its 81 locations globally to reach out and see where they can lend a hand to the local community.

“If there is anything this outbreak has emphasized, it is how interconnected and dependent we are globally. Our initiative underlines our commitment to protecting people, food and the planet,” says Mr Héaulmé.

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