Given our presence in the Asia Pacific region and our automotive OEM coatings manufacturing facility in Wuhan, China, we began managing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic early in 2020.
The health and safety of our employees, partners and customers continue to be our most important core value. Through much of 2020 and into 2021, we enacted the following protocols and measures to manage our business in this new environment.
Enhanced Workplace Safety
- Globally implemented risk-based response protocols aligned with the health experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These protocols included employee screening, remote work, social distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizers, cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and the use of face coverings.
- Made site-by-site and person-by-person decisions.
- Monitored the health of our global workforce and took measures to protect our employees and customers in accordance with global and regional government requirements.
- Initiated a reporting mechanism for contact tracing when employees are affected by COVID-19.
- Benchmarked how other industry leaders were handling the crisis and incorporated best practices.
Provided Workplace Flexibility
- Implemented alternative work arrangements, such as working remotely and staggering shifts and breaks for essential employees who remained on-site at essential operations that included manufacturing facilities and laboratories.
- Adjusted operations to comply with government guidelines.
Increased Employee Education, Engagement and Recognition
- Provided initial COVID-19 awareness training for all employees.
- Established a global COVID-19 employee resource website.
- Cascaded frequent and open communications via our leaders.
- Shared success stories, solicited ideas for engagement, and provided tools and resources for managers.
- Provided a wide array of communications via our intranet, employee resource website, emails and video messages that encouraged safe operating and hygiene practices within and outside of the workplace.
- Accelerated the introduction of digital tools to connect employees.
- Extended leadership and individual contributor training programs into virtual and interactive formats and deployed them globally.
- Measured progress by continuing a regular cadence of employee engagement surveys and deploying a communications-effectiveness survey.
- Encouraged employee recognition through our recognition and rewards program.
- Paid about $6 million in special bonuses to recognize our frontline and field employees for their outstanding commitment throughout 2020.
Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company, our Officers-Directors Compensation Committee approved a temporary 30% base salary reduction for our chairman and chief executive officer and a temporary 25% base salary reduction for our other executive officers.
Our products played an essential role in a wide range of key industries during the pandemic. Our paints, coatings and specialty materials helped create life-critical products for the health care, defense, food and beverage, hygiene, agriculture, energy, public works electronics industries and many others.
More directly, we focused on using our existing products and new innovations to support our global customers. For example, we pivoted a U.S. paint manufacturing line to provide 100,000 gallons (379 cubic meters) of hand sanitizer for 1,900 THE HOME DEPOT® stores. In France, we introduced Disinfectant 20R (D20R), which is an antiviral and antibacterial disinfectant developed specifically to help our customers and their employees return to business safely during the pandemic.
We also joined forces with Corning Inc. to seek U.S. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approval for a paint product that incorporates Corning’s new glass-ceramic technology. This technology has proven to kill more than 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. Following registration with the U.S. EPA, we plan to launch the paint product to provide customers with an additional safeguard from COVID-19 in areas that pose a higher health risk, such as healthcare facilities and the hospitality industry.
Additional hygienic PPG products that protect against bacteria and viruses include:
- COMEX® VINIMEX® TOTAL Antibacterial Premium 100% acrylic paint, which reduces 99.9% of common bacteria that cause gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.
- MASTER’S MARK® LUXURIANT® and ECO TOUCH® antibacterial interior latex coatings by PPG, which kill 99.99% of E. coli and staphylococcus. They also kill 99.93% of the H1N1 virus under China’s National (GB) standards.
- TAUBMAN’S EASYCOAT® interior paint by PPG featuring Microban technology, which works to kill germs on contact and protect against mold, mildew and fungus growth, which are triggers of asthma and allergies.
At the center of our purpose is a commitment to protect and beautify the world. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the word “protect” has taken on even greater meaning as we remain focused on protecting our people, customers, communities and all stakeholders.