Build Back Better

By Cher Mereweather

This is how we will make change together - one company at a time. It's time to build back better.


Everything around us is in chaos.


Every company is in some form of chaos. Call it survival mode, fire-fighting, pivoting - whatever you want. It’s not business as usual, for anyone.


COVID-19 has shone a huge spotlight on the holes and flaws in our food system. It has put everything into a tailspin. And it’s not pleasant.


I get it.


I’ve been in the food and beverage industry for twenty years. I’ve had the chance to work with many of you during that time. I understand food. And I get what you’re going through right now. I do.


I also have an 8-year-old who wakes up in the middle of the night because he’s having bad dreams about COVID-19. A kid who is growing up to inherit a planet that is a mess.


My life’s work has been to enroll people like you into a better way to do business in the way we make our food and drinks. So that we could make sure that our food and beverage production isn’t destroying our planet, that people aren’t going hungry, that we are taking care of the people who make our food…and that we avoid the kind of mess we find ourselves in now.


And I now need to look my son in the eye, feeling like I’ve failed. 


The truth is that every single one of your companies is going to need to be rethought, restructured and rebuilt  . 


And the really inconvenient truth is that if we don’t do it right, we are just going to end up right back here, in this chaos in a few years’ time. The next pandemic, or the next climate catastrophe, or whatever it ends up being. It’s coming, and we all know it.


I’ve been fighting this fight for two decades. And I may feel like we’ve failed so far, but I’m not about to give up now.


On the contrary. 


There has never been more proof that business as usual doesn’t work.


And there’s never been more proof that the companies that have chosen a better way to do business are doing well. Look around you at the firms that are being nimble, that are thriving, that seem like refuges of calm in the chaos - they’re the ones who have done the work.


So what is “this work”? What do we all need to do?


There are 5 changes we all need to make. Whether you are a tiny firm, with a handful of employees, or a multinational, it’s the same five things.


1.  Treating your people - those heroes who have continued to show up during this pandemic to make the food we all eat – better, engaging them more and paying them well.


2.  Making sure you stand for something more than just making money by aligning your business strategy and your purpose.


3.  Fixing operations so you stop wasting food, materials, water and energy.


4.  Rebuilding supply chains so you can see up and down them and so they are more local and sustainable.


5.  Restructuring your business decision-making, data and storytelling to take into account the things that are really important to all of us: our planet, your communities AND your bottom line.


One company at a time. That’s how we will make change together - one company at a time.


I get the chaos. I get the pain and the discomfort. I really do. But do you want to be doing this all again in a couple of years? I know I don’t. Yet that’s what is going to happen if you don’t embrace this now. I’m sorry, that’s probably not what you want to hear as you’re fighting fires and trying to keep your business alive. But if you don’t carve out 20% of your time right now to work on these five changes - then that is the predicable future.


I made a commitment twenty years ago to fight for a future that I could be proud to leave to my son and my future grandchildren. Today, more than ever, that commitment has never been stronger.  I am your ally, and we are going to make these five changes together. One company at a time. So that we can all look at our children and grandchildren in the future and tell them that when COVID-19 hit, we chose to Build Back Better.


Cher Mereweather

President & CEO

P 519.822.2042 x1

C 519.803.6395

Tags: Sustainability, Strategy, Purpose, Food and Beverage, Covid-19

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