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Kemin: A Global Response for Local Communities

Kemin Industries COVID-19 Response

May 4, 2020

As a global ingredient manufacturer, Kemin started an uncharted journey with COVID-19 earlier this year with our team members in China. As the global pandemic swept across the world, Kemin knew proactive measures were crucial to help protect the health and wellbeing of our teams — and their families — from China to Italy to Des Moines, Iowa.

Health and safety have always been at the heart of Kemin and the ingredients we create. Based on the early and effective response by our teams in China, Kemin was able to leverage their best practices — like temperature checks, splitting shifts and mandatory work-from-home policies — to mitigate the risk of coronavirus at all Kemin campuses.

As an essential business that provides ingredients for the food supply chain, Kemin continues to make daily adaptions and is dedicated to ensuring our employees are safe, our food supply is protected and our customers and communities are supported.

Focusing on Communication + Community

At Kemin, we know that communication and community are critical during a crisis. To keep our North America teams informed, Dr. Chris Nelson, Kemin President and CEO, hosts daily live updates for employees. Our global teams participate in similar live updates for their regions in Asia, Europe and South America and Africa. Kemin’s expert scientists also host regular Q&A panels to provide scientifically backed insight on the virus and current events related to it. They have also created science programming for kids who are currently learning from home.

In Kemin’s global response for our local communities, our team members have answered the call of servant leadership many times during this crisis, donating their time and energy, and even volunteering a portion of their wages to support healthcare providers:

  • At our global headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, the Kemin COVID-19 Response Committee collected nearly 10,000 articles of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, safety glasses, gloves, coverall safety suits and disposable lab coats, that were donated to the Iowa Department of Public Health for distribution.
  • In recognition of Kemin’s “essential” employees who must be onsite to work in our manufacturing facilities and labs, Kemin launched a $1 million “Essential Employee Bonus Program” for North America employees. Similar salary supplements and bonus programs have been established at other Kemin locations around the globe.
    • To lend additional support to our essential employees, Kemin purchased GrubHub gift certificates and Walmart gift cards for all U.S. employees. Kemin also waived delivery fees for employees who order groceries online through Midwest supermarket chain Hy-Vee. Additionally, all employees who must be physically present at a North America facility to perform their duties receive free meal service while on-site.
    • The Nelson Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the Nelson family, who owns and operates Kemin, gave $50,000 to the Food Bank of Iowa, which will help feed 200,000 food insecure Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Kemin also donated to the Girl Scouts of Iowa to assist with distributing surplus cookies to Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) and the Food Bank of Iowa. We have also provided support to the Greater Des Moines Partnership to assist small businesses in the region and have worked with YESS to provide support to the residents and staff.
  • In Italy, employees at our Kemin Nutrisurance facility in Veronella donated a portion of their April paychecks to healthcare workers at the local Legnano Hospital. The Nelson family, who owns and operates Kemin, matched their 25000-euro donation for a total of 50000 euros.
  • The Kemin Textiles Auxiliaries team in San Marino, a microstate surrounded by north-central Italy, also contributed part of their paychecks to the Civil Protection of San Marino, the organization responsible for raising funds for the State Hospital. The 10000-euro donation supported healthcare personnel treating COVID-19 patients.
  • Kemin’s EMENA (Europe, Middle East, North Africa) regional headquarters teams delivered more than 200 masks to a regional hospital in Belgium for use in its emergency room.
  • Kemin’s South American team in Brazil joined the Commercial and Industrial Association of Chapecó’s efforts to purchase respirators for the largest public hospital in the state. In Vargeão, where the manufacturing facility is located, the Kemin team provided lab coats to the public health facility so medical personnel could conduct appointments at residents’ homes.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Lauren M.G. Burt

Lauren M.G. Burt leads external global corporate communications and public relations at Kemin Industries. Her primary responsibilities include managing worldwide communications, promoting the Kemin brand and serves as the official global spokesperson. Her other responsibilities include overseeing Kemin community engagement - locally and globally - crisis communications and executive communications. Most recently, Lauren led the Kemin global rebrand transformation and vision project for implementation in more than 90 countries.