Sustainability

Learnings in 2020, changes in 2021

In 2020, we changed and transformed more than we ever thought we could.

We learned that trust in local people is the foundation of the most efficient way to deal with the unexpected. Trust means empowerment, and enables local teams to swiftly define local solutions without interference from remote actors. Trust allows local stakeholders from the business, and from society, to find innovative solutions to unexpected situations without time-consuming negotiations. Trust eliminates a lot of the finger-pointing and litigation that can poison human relationships and hamper decision-making. Trust equals speed and solidarity in the execution of decisions.

Because we had to trust each other more, we became more transparent and collaborative as we faced difficulties together. We realized how intertwined our fates are, we shared information and helped each other to find coordinated and systemic solutions. Collaboration is a major catalyst of resilience. Many thanks to our customers and partners for the new level of dialogue we reached in 2020. And many thanks to our teams, who adapted so well to the challenges around them, and continued to serve our customers and communities.

We also learned to care much more about each other. After all, viruses know no limits and no borders. We all know somebody who was affected. This created more empathy than any other crisis in our collective memories. That empathy will remain crucial as we continue to deal with the economic and social consequences of the crisis. We should particularly focus on young people, whose schooling was often badly disrupted by Covid, and now face a tight job market. As we work towards solutions, they must be solutions for all.

We have also all become much more digital, because digital technologies kept the world going. We have transformed faster than ever, and adopted new ways of doing things that we had previously thought impossible.

Let us not forget what we have learned, and let us never go back to the old ways of doing things. Let us invent a new way of operating, which leverages digital technologies to cut tiredness, travel, traffic and carbon emissions.

We have realized just how vulnerable we are to microscopic and unexpected natural events, and that our society doesn’t care enough about the delicate balance of nature. We have also realized that, even as we continue to fight Covid, climate change is the next risk on the horizon – and that it is a risk that will impact everyone around the world even more severely.

Trust and local empowerment, transparency and collaboration, caring, doing thing differently and digitally, and focusing on fighting climate change: Let’s not forget what we have learned, and never go back to where we were. Crises are a powerful learning accelerator, because they leave us no choice. They also remind us that we are more resilient, more flexible, and more able to change than we imagine.

May 2021 be a year of transformation that builds on everything we learned in 2020.


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