As I write this message, I am reflecting on the incredible 43 years of Alimentation Couche-Tard and the magnificent achievement of reaching our Double Again strategic goal. Believe me, for a company that prides itself on easy, this has not always been easy – three of the five years of our Double Again strategy have been during the most turbulent of times with a global pandemic and extraordinary geopolitical and economic conditions. Yet we did it, and I could not be prouder of our amazing team.
You may wonder how — amidst these unprecedented challenges — we kept our strategic focus and did not waver from our key growth pillars. Here, the answer is simple: we remain steadfast in our commitment to the business and doing the right thing for our people and customers. Our culture and the values we live by have never been stronger. Perhaps, this is reflected best in the wonderful achievement of winning, for the second time in a row, the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award, which recognized us among the world’s most engaged workplace cultures.
Over these five years, as we strived to Double Again, we also embarked on another ambitious journey of making sustainability a lens to the business. This year, we made good progress, including in workplace safety by reducing robberies, addressing harassment at our stores, creating pipelines for advancement for our diverse and inclusive workforce, and expanding our efforts toward cleaner energy sources by increasing electric vehicle charging capacity and growing alternative fuel offers.
From our humble beginnings, it has been important to the founders and me that our stores and team members play a pivotal part in the communities where we work and live. This year, across the network and particularly in the Baltics, we provided generous support to Ukrainian refugees — raising millions for Red Cross relief efforts and providing essential care packages, housing, and employment. We also took care of our own U.S. team members impacted by the fury of Hurricane Ian and gave countless hours to support youth in trouble and combat food waste.
I am also proud that as we Doubled Again, we have kept our customary financial discipline. We walked away from acquisitions and investments that did not meet our strict criteria, and we stayed true to our Operations First mindset. We also seized the right opportunities at the right price as seen in our proposed acquisition of certain European retail assets of TotalEnergies, which would bring into our family four new countries: Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. We look forward to sharing with them our experience and ambitions as we create the world’s preferred destination for mobility and convenience.
I want to thank all our team members, customers, and shareholders for being part of our Double Again success, and I am excited to have your support as we embark on the next chapter of our strategic journey.