Interpersonal relationships form an important part of VAFO’s activities, something that has been reaffirmed not only during the pandemic but particularly now with the events in Ukraine. The day after the Russian invasion began, we got together at our headquarters in Chrášťany and began making arrangements to bring family members of our Ukrainian colleagues to the Czech Republic as well as employees of our Ukrainian partner, Suziria.

The coronavirus pandemic, inflation, the Ukraine crisis, and other events of the last two years have had a fundamental impact on all aspects of our business. It goes far beyond the price of ingredients, which are now three times as expensive as before, or efforts to free ourselves from dependence on Russian energy sources, which in the case of VAFO primarily means seeking out alternatives to natural gas. It is also about interpersonal relationships in business and in society in general. We have often experienced a sense of belonging and a willingness to help in society in recent times. And it is something the entire pet food industry can be proud of. The company’s owner, Pavel Bouška, spoke recently about transformations in society and the current situation at VAFO. The interview is available here.

For more than two months now, our Ukrainian partner Suziria has been operating from our Czech base. Only hours after the start of the Russian invasion, a plan was put in action to move the company from Ukraine to the Czech Republic with one goal – to protect the employees and their families. In the first few weeks, we secured accommodation for more than 100 people from Ukraine and provided the management of Suziria with office space from which to coordinate their business. A provisional preschool for their children was set up in a conference room. Currently only a fraction of these people are still using our spaces, with the rest of them having joined other partners throughout Europe who also offered assistance. In this interview, Polina Kosharna, co-owner of Suziria, talks about what it is like to run a Ukrainian company from the Czech Republic.