Baltic, Ecology, Markets and Companies, Retail

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 13.08.2020, 03:26

Rimi Baltic retailer stops buying Grigeo products amid pollution scandal

BC, Vilnius/Tallinn, 14.01.2020.Print version
Rimi Baltic retail company has stopped buying products from Lithuanian cardboard and paper product maker Grigeo which has polluted the Curonian Lagoon with its untreated wastewater, Regina Ikala, a spokeswoman for Rimi Latvia, informed LETA.

The retailer said that the decision remains in place until reassurances are received that measures have been taken to prevent pollution risks to the environment. 

"Rimi stands firm on its corporate responsibility commitments, with environmental protection being one of the cornerstones. We demand unconditionally that our suppliers respect them, too," Rimi Baltic Group CEO Edgar Sesemann said. 

"We want to 100% sure that any illegal activity has been terminated," he added. 

According to the CEO, Rimi Baltic will conclude no new contracts with Grigeo after selling the existing stock.  

Five Lithuanian furniture manufacturers supplying their products to Sweden's furniture giant IKEA stopped buying Grigeo Klaipeda products last week. 

Three retail chains – Iki, Norfa and Senukai – have stopped stocking Grigeo toilet paper, and paper napkins and towels due to the pollution scandal. These products are manufactured at the group's factory in Grigiskes, a suburb of Vilnius. 

Maxima says it is still considering joining the boycott of Grigeo products, and Aibe, another major supermarket chain, does not intend to do so.  

The Lithuanian Environmental Protection Department informed the Latvian State Environment Service last week that an inspection on the night of January 7 revealed that completely or partly untreated wastewater from the Grigeo plant was flowing into the Curonian Lagoon. 

Gintautas Pangonis, Grigeo president and main shareholder, said untreated wastewater was released into the Curonian Lagoon via an emergency pipe.

In his words, some wastewater entered the Curonian Lagoon after mechanical treatment but it was not treated biologically. He could not say how much wastewater had been released into the Curonian Lagoon.

The company has pledged to compensate for the environmental damage done.

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