This past year has certainly been unprecedented and unusual in almost every aspect. Concepts that used to only be in the domain of the medical and biological professions became common discourse. We all became experts, talking about the effectiveness of the vaccine in reducing the viral load, calculations about mortality rates, correlations between lockdowns and the drop in hospitalization admissions. The COVID-19 pandemic took over our lives and the public discourse, and it seemed that sometimes, important subjects we would deal with as part of our normal routine, were pushed aside until the chaos passed.
But, in fact, even though it seemed that everything stopped, life has its way to keep on going. The year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic was also a year in which we all, as individuals, a society and as a company, extensively dealt with issues of personal reckoning and of vision. It was a year that enabled us to look inward, to hone our thoughts about what separates the wheat from the chaff, about what is truly important in our lives. We thought about what it is that makes us happy, about what is good for us. We contemplated on how to create stability within the chaos, we searched for foundations to lean on, and most of all, we wanted certainty.
We, the generation that was used to talking in terms of progress, revolution and positive transformation, found ourselves in a state of regression – it seemed that life was coming to a standstill, and we experienced true existential fear – we wanted to make sure we will be able to support our families, and to be able to put food on the table and feed our children. In previous years, when we talked about sustainability, we were privileged to mainly discuss the issue saving the planet and our environment, as everything else seemed guaranteed, this year, for me, the term “sustainability” took on a much wider and deeper meaning: Our health and our existence was being called into question.
From now on, sustainability is not just the wellbeing of the planet, rather also the health and wellbeing of people. The Coronavirus taught us about the clear connection between the health of people and animals, and the vitality of nature’s resources. This year taught us that one cannot be advanced at the expense of the other. On the contrary, true sustainability preserves the value chain and the health of the people that drive it. Sustainability is essentially our ability to find the balance that will enable us, as a food company, to continue to feed the world’s population with nutritious, healthy, high quality food that’s accessible to all, without damaging the life and natural resources around us.
The discourse about sustainability must lead us on a journey of creating a healthier and safer future. This mission can only succeed from a place of true cooperation between all sectors, countries and those who operate in the public sphere. The Coronavirus vaccine is an example of a result of this kind of cooperation, which is no less than a living miracle – a vaccine that was produced and marketed within less than a year, while the pandemic continued to spread around the world. The vaccine is a direct result of an unprecedented partnership created for one purpose – saving humanity.
When my late father, Michael, founder of the company, was asked what kind of company he saw Strauss becoming, he emphasised the importance of caring for others, acknowledging our impact on the environment, and how important it is to maintain the connection with the communities in which we operate. It was important to him that we preserve our uniqueness and our togetherness. To me, this is everything, these are our foundations, and we continue to strengthen them and to grow from that place. Me, personally, and us, as a company.
I would like to thank everyone in the company who works every day, every hour, hand in hand, to support our basis of existence – the ongoing, safe and responsible supply of healthy and nutritious food from the farm to our customers’ tables around the world. Thank you. You help us be the best version of ourselves.