Coronavirus is a crisis unlike any other that most of us have ever experienced. To the immediate tragedy of coronavirus itself, we must add the indirect impact that this virus is having on the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society. Even for those who might not find themselves in harm’s way, the resulting consequences promise to be hard and long lasting. This rings true for many people in our communities across the world.
During this crisis, we should all take comfort from the countless initiatives and acts of generosity in support of those less fortunate and for those working on the front line. From children drawing rainbows thanking healthcare workers to Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising heroics, small and large gestures from the young and old are bringing out the best of humanity. Many corporates have also been doing their part, raising significant amounts of money or making in-kind donations in support of various causes and specific needs.
I am especially proud to be working for Edrington in these challenging times. Known for its premium spirits, The Macallan, Highland Park, The Glenrothes, The Famous Grouse and Brugal rum, Edrington has giving as one of its core values. This ethos was inherited from our principal shareholder – The Robertson Trust – Scotland’s largest independent grant-making trust. Through the dividends received from Edrington, last year The Trust gave £20m to charitable organisations and supported talented young people facing barriers to education to help deliver its vision of a fair and compassionate Scotland where everyone is valued and able to flourish. In addition to this, Edrington sets aside 1% of earnings each year for charitable giving by its employees around the world, with their fundraising being double matched. Everyone at Edrington also has four days’ paid leave to volunteer in their communities.
This spirit of giving, deeply embedded in our company values, means that people across the Edrington world have been able to access funds to support coronavirus relief efforts in their communities. From our home in Scotland to our offices across APAC, the Dominican Republic, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and the United States – this year our colleagues will have access to £1.3m to support charitable causes in their communities. Now, more than ever, Edrington is also standing by its long-time charity partners in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, many of which have seen their funding affected by the current pandemic.
And so, when we eventually emerge from this crisis, many things will undoubtedly have changed, but I hope that the spirit of giving and community that has emerged, continues and flourishes. I sincerely hope that the inspiring initiatives that we have seen will form part of a ‘new norm’ that emerges, and that we all continue collaborating and giving towards something greater than ourselves.
I know that at Edrington, our value of giving will endure, and together with our people and our principal shareholder, we will continue to give as long as there is need.