This year is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and a chance to be unified, take action and respond to Covid-19
April 22, 2020
Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, which is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is a chance to be unified, take action and respond to the ongoing crisis. In 1970, 20 million Americans mobilized for greater protection on our planet, and now in 2020, amongst the Covid-19 pandemic, we are faced with an even larger mission that requires us all to unite together to protect our people and planet.
Since the end of January, we’ve seen the direct impacts of Covid-19 on our teams and communities, as our staff in China returned to their hometowns for Chinese New Year, a holiday which is traditionally filled with family, dance, music and food. The typically joyous occasion quickly changed as mandatory lockdowns and quarantines took place. We were faced with the immediate need to provide resources for our teams, many of whom were in Wuhan and Hubei province, while ensuring business continuity for our customers. Luckily, our teams have all returned healthy and are beginning to lead more normal lives.
Currently, we are faced with a similar situation across the United States, UK and Europe. As a commitment to health and safety, all employees were required to work from home and equipped with all of the necessary technologies. Yes, we’ve had Zoom meetings with our dogs barking and kids crying, muted microphones or a microwave beeping in the background, but this agility and act of connecting has shown that no matter where we are, we can remain united.
A commitment to sustainability is truly tested by the crisis we are facing today, and it is our ongoing goal to keep protecting the health of our first responders, communities, employees, and customers. It is a chance to go back to our roots, what brought us to where we are today, and use the 10 Principles of the United Nations Global Compact to help guide our future. It’s a chance to dig deeper, invest in our communities and play our role to be part of the solution.
In addition to providing safe working conditions for our employees and eliminating any in-person contact with our customers, it’s been our privilege to distribute over 60,000 face masks to local doctors, nurses, police officers, teachers, employees, and other members of our communities across the world. There isn’t a day that goes by where we all don’t take a moment to thank and celebrate these people on the front-line.
If there is some positive from this Pandemic it might be that we can visualize the potential positive effects of keeping our planet clean and that we see nature can repair the damage that has been done. We have seen real time effects of shutting down global industrial activity, and I am certain that we will see many relevant studies emerging showing the potential effects of positive change in protecting the environment. The goal is clear, we can hit the reset button together and still have an industrialized productive society without damaging the environment.
The next 12 months will be challenging for all of us as the entire cosmetics and wines and spirits industry is faced with its biggest obstacle in recent history. We are already seeing the impacts and will work through them together. There is hope at the end, as long as we keep vigilant to protecting each other’s health.
I wanted to share a note from Dora, one of our project developers in China, who finally returned home from Hubei after a 2 1/2 month home quarantine.
“Life is small and precious, and safety is more important than anything else. We are small, but also great, let’s get united, stay safe, keep healthy, be optimistic, help each other, and we will overcome.”
Happy Earth Day and we are truly United Together.
President & CEO