As the end of the year approaches, it’s often a time to reflect back on the past months. While 2020 has brought many challenges and life didn’t go as planned, we can still take this time to appreciate what we have.
At Amyris, it definitely wasn’t business as usual, but we rose to meet the challenges brought on by a global pandemic. In response to COVID-19:
- We fast-tracked the development of hand sanitizer through our baby care brand, Pipette, and donated the first production of over 20 thousand units to front line workers in California and New York state.
- Our clean beauty brand Biossance developed a hand sanitizer that is available in Sephora. We also held a campaign where all proceeds of sales for the day of all products were donated to front line workers.
- We partnered with IDRI to develop a vaccine adjuvant that has received worldwide media coverage including the New York Times, Bloomberg and National Geographic.
- We partnered with the American Diabetes Association and raised $400,000 to help support the needs of a population made more vulnerable by the pandemic.
- We raised money for Feeding America to supply 4000+ meals to those experiencing financial hardship.
We also responded to the Black Lives Matter movement by committing to build diversity within our own organization.
- We pledged to add Black representation to our Board of Directors and welcomed Julie Washington, a senior executive with transformational marketing leadership experience.
- We pledged to increase Black representation to our workforce by 50% over the next 18 months and after three months increased our percentage of Black employees by nearly 40%.
- We pledged to hire a third of our interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Over the summer half of our student interns were Black.
- In addition, we are committed to donating $180,000 annually to scholarship funds at HBCUs as well as local universities.
- And we have pledged increase the diversity of our influencers and posts on social media.
We also have a very giving employee community at Amyris that hasn’t stopped during the pandemic. For instance, employees often volunteer at our local food bank, though this year we hosted a virtual food drive. By engaging companywide through email, we were able to exceed our goal. In addition, we participated in our yearly backpack drive for kids and will hold our annual giving tree to host families in need.
Although we miss our daily face-to-face interactions, we’ve continued to stay connected though meetings that now give us a small glimpse into our co-worker’s homes, and Amyris has kept moving forward despite the challenges of 2020.
With gratitude, we give thanks to our employees, partners and community for making the impossible possible, and we will take these lessons of compassion, kindness and goodwill with us into 2021. Be well.