Company leaders can act right now to help minimize the effects of COVID-19 on sustainability and emerge stronger in the aftermath of this global health crisis.
Treat your employees with fairness. The COVID-19 pandemic is a time for focusing your attention on your workforce. Improve safety measures to protect your team. Allow remote work when possible, and offer more for family and sick leaves. Look for other ways to use your employees in specific departments instead of laying them off. If this can’t be prevented, perhaps you can connect your staff with other companies who might need them during this time. When employees are facing cuts, salaries of executives must also be cut.
Offer help to the community. Utilize your manpower and company facilities to activities that can help mitigate the crisis, like medical supply production and other community support. Donate funds or supplies that the community needs, including the workforce. Ventilators are among the most badly needed supply in hospitals and crisis centers. Come up with a fund committed solely to purchasing these things.
Do what is right for your suppliers and clients. Implement refund and return policies appropriately to lessen the impact of the pandemic on suppliers as well as customers. You may want to offer a longer credit term to your well-paying clients to help them retain their businesses. A famous company, Unilever, did this by pledging 500 million euros to back their supply chains through moves like credit extensions for small-scale customers that are relying entirely on the company.
In addition to these actions, companies and their leaders must also learn to plan for moves that will help prepare them for a sustainable future in the post-COVID world.
Continue the current positive actions. Studies revealed that initiatives that were started in the wake of a pandemic are most probably going to stick around. Companies can choose which actions would be more helpful in sustaining the future. Technology companies may contribute to the skills they’ve practiced in fighting against virus misinformation. All companies can reassess if air travel is needed for their operations. This is also a time for them to revisit and reflect on their mission.
Analyze risk evaluations based on the present crisis before acting on them. Company leaders should prepare themselves for a variety of situations that are about to come. They should take advantage of what they have learned to determine what the biggest risks are from sustainability-related difficulties. What if the no-plastic law comes out sooner than expected? What if the carbon prices go way up to more than $100 per ton? What if customers shift to plant-based food more quickly than anticipated? All these questions could help you unravel new investments that were previously considered risky or inferior. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 crisis has shown that near-impossible events and situations do happen.
Foresee fresh sustainability-driven possibilities. Look for the unexpected opportunities brought about by the pandemic and incorporated them into your marketing plan. Additionally, transforming to on-shore or near-shore production will minimize emissions. Pollution levels will certainly decrease as new spots are created to abide by the existing environmental policies, supporting new technologies, and making them more efficient.
As a leader, you should also think about how sustainability opportunities may be utilized in products. After using up different products during the quarantines and shelter in place measures, consumers will be pickier on the items that they use or eat, as they will be considering if these items are good for them and the environment.
This current global crisis has overturned millions of lives, and businesses can’t always inhibit our desire for sustainability. Instead, it can emphasize the essence of caring for each other and the world, which, in turn, is, of course, good for business. Companies that are committed to pushing sustainability in the face of a pandemic will ultimately come out stronger with a better customer base, improved reputations, and more robust employee productivity and devotion.