Dear friends and stakeholders in the EcoVadis community,
It is an understatement to say that this year was both challenging and unpredictable in some of the most painful ways. We empathize with our customers, employees and community as we recognize the impacts of not only the coronavirus pandemic - which has brought terrible losses of life, health, education and livelihoods - but also natural disasters, and social upheaval that may reshape our laws and society. We also acknowledge that these impacts will be prolonged through the coming years for many.
Despite the challenges, we continue to be inspired by how people and businesses all over the world have shown more resilience and positivity than we could ever imagine. We have seen countless signs of renewed sustainability commitments and positive actions from businesses, from retooling production lines to help create hand sanitizer, face masks or medical equipment, to supporting suppliers and displaced workers despite suffering through their own economic turmoil. We also remain proud of our EcoVadians and neighbors who have consistently volunteered to make a difference for the vulnerable during this crisis.
As we reflect on the pandemic’s impact on EcoVadis, we realize that our business had to make crucial changes. At the peak of the crisis, we froze new hiring, and saw reduced numbers of requests, and of responses, for companies to undergo our sustainability rating process. For the ongoing safety of our employees, we have continued remote work. To help our customers in need, we offered payment term flexibility. Nonetheless, thanks to the continued dedication and collaborative efforts by all, sustainable procurement activity has recovered from the low point of the crisis, and in the second half of the year, we even saw an unprecedented acceleration of new sustainable supply chain initiatives in most industries. At EcoVadis, we have restarted hiring, and ended the year with almost 700 employees. We remain fully committed to helping all of our customers make progress on their sustainability journeys, growing programs and rebuilding better.
Although the pandemic’s harsh lessons are not yet behind us, we look forward to the new year with hope and optimism that we can rebuild better -- to assure more ethical and just treatment of workers, drive the transition to lower emissions and reduced environmental impacts, and ultimately build more resilient businesses and value chains. We feel very fortunate to report that our teams have continued to innovate and collaborate alongside customers to achieve these goals, as commitments to sustainability continue to become stronger and more critical than ever.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” All of us will emerge from these rough waters as stronger organizations, and we plan to help our customers redefine resiliency through creating a sustainable value chain. This change is needed not only to protect businesses from future disruptions -- it’s to leave a better world for our children, grandchildren and the generations to follow.
We would like to offer our sincere gratitude for your continued partnership with EcoVadis, and send our best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and sustainable 2021. While we are still continuing our global journey through this crisis, we will endure, and come out stronger than ever, together.
Pierre-Francois Thaler and Frederic Trinel