What a year it’s been! COVID invited itself into our lives – shaking our habits, changing our plans and how we approach our work, testing our resilience. Who hasn’t had a moment of introspection as we saw our world changing?
Despite all this, I am amazed and grateful for how we have come together – reviewing our plans, adapting our delivery, and finding new ways to maintain relationships with companies, communities and farmers. I have seen innovation, agility, flexibility and resilience; all of which leaves me with hope next year.
Like the world, Earthworm has undergone a transformation; a trend that began in 2019 when we rebranded. Since then, we have striven to simplify our vision and better operationalise our work in the landscapes and supply chains we want to help regenerate. As the world realises that forests and soils are at the heart of our climate objectives, companies are coming to see that working in sourcing regions and landscapes is vital.
This is what guided our work in 2020. In France, we are beginning to see how farmers and businesses can bring life to our soil. In the Ivory Coast, we saw government and businesses partnering to conserve one of the most precious forests in the country. We leveraged data to measure the health of healthy forest landscapes. We ventured from the boreal forests of Russia to rubber plantations in Thailand; from hazelnut farms in Turkey to the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia.
All this was done keeping in mind that change is made possible by people. Anything we do on forests and soils starts with people – indigenous and rural communities, farmers and workers. And of course, not forgetting the people whose decisions impact the way businesses relate to people and nature.
This is why we a launched new way to help communities protect forests. This is why we honored our ex-colleague and friend, Hilary Thompson, with a fund to help women gain experience in human rights – a field dear to her heart.
We also strove to share what we had learnt; from two years bridging the trust gap between businesses and civil society, for example. We shared resources to help companies protect the rights of workers and children in Malaysia and Indonesia. We helped farmers in Vietnam organize and educate themselves to improve yield.
Despite the challenges 2020 brought, what I have seen makes me proud. We could talk here about the challenges we will continue to face in 2021. But I have no doubt that we will overcome them. I will carry hope, faith and confidence – as an alternative to fear – into the new year.
I conclude simply by wishing you a great end-of-the-year. I hope these coming days will give you chance to rest and recharge. Be well, and take good care of yourself and your loved ones.