How Should Companies Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis?

Facebook blurb: COVID-19 has rapidly changed how companies need to relate to their partners and the public at large. How can companies properly respond to this crisis, however? Read our blog to see how companies have already addressed the pandemic and how they may be able to improve their response.

In practically no time at all, COVID-19 has radically altered how companies have interacted with their partners and target audiences. The pandemic is simply too large to be ignored – if a company refuses to acknowledge the crisis, they will be left behind by their industries and customers alike. As the novelist Arundhati Roy poetically commented in the Financial Times, “The pandemic is a portal.” Coronavirus may indeed have a lasting effect on how companies approach medical crises, community support, and environmental concerns like biodiversity and climate change.

Addressing Large-Scale Medical Needs

When urgent social needs arise – like the current dearth of face masks, ventilators, and testing kits – many large companies answer the call. Companies in industries that range everywhere from pharmaceuticals to auto manufacturers have contributed generous donations of money or supplies. According to USA Today, even the LEGO Group is producing over 13,000 face visors a day for healthcare workers. Customers will be sure to remember how companies answered the call to help.

Community Assistance

Besides the public health risk due to the virus itself, many vulnerable populations are experiencing greater hardships. Organizations in the food and beverage industries like the PepsiCo Foundation have committed more than $15.8m for increased access to nutrition for the countless school-aged children who are now confined in quarantine. Even tech companies have lifted data caps to ensure people still have open lines of communication while stuck at home.

The Environmental Factor

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how many governments and companies around the world can quickly respond to existential threats to public health and the economy, it has also revealed that our societies may not be as resilient as we thought. More so now than ever, the public consciousness is becoming more aware how intertwined health and environmental policies really are. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Inger Andersen, the environmental chief of the UN, recently commented that “Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens, to pass from wild and domestic animals to people.” The interview expands on current expert opinion, noting how much climate change has driven wildlife into contact with people. Naturally, companies around the world play a significant role in this climate change, and will ultimately need to strengthen their sustainability initiatives to further protect public health.

For the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, social, economic, and environmental stewardship are paramount. To learn more about sustainability and resilience in purchasing, attend the virtual 2020 SPLC Summit taking place May 18-20th. Register today!

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