By Yusra Sarkar

The last few weeks have seen extensive turmoil as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak sweeps across the world. While much of the news paints a grim picture, positive stories are also starting to emerge.

In many cases, companies have stepped forward to provide front line support to communities and workforces that are affected by the ongoing challenges. Today, we see many corporations – both large and small – shift to doing business in ways in which corporate responsibility is increasingly central to operations.

The corporations stepping up in challenging times

Over the weekend, LVMH announced that its perfume factories in France would switch to producing hand sanitizer for French hospitals at no cost. In Switzerland, Firmenich (a family-run perfume and flavour company) committed to donating 20 tonnes of sanitising solution to one of Geneva’s leading hospitals. Jack Ma’s Foundation has also announced unprecedented support to Africa and the USA with donations of testing kits and face masks amid chronic shortages.

Not just limited to physical goods, corporations have also looked to provide additional support to the most vulnerable in their workforce. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Amazon have all committed to paying hourly workers regular wages even if they can’t come to work. The move means janitors, canteen staff and security teams will continue to receive pay, even if they are at home sick or can’t work as a result of office shutdowns.

‘In America, this is a real change from the usual state of affairs. Workers, especially those paid on an hourly basis, have very different rights in the US compared to other parts of the world like Europe. Companies making these commitments to continue pay are supporting their most vulnerable workers, so the move is very positive,’ says Tomas Alonso, Managing Director, Miami.

The bigger picture: doing good because it’s right

Rather than being a ploy to attract good publicity, this new approach to decision making is driven by the desire for corporations to do something positive and tangible in challenging times.

‘The trend comes as firms and corporations are increasingly thinking about the bigger picture in a way that goes beyond their legal responsibilities and is really about the actions a corporation feels is right. For many, a short-term hit to profits is a small price to pay for doing something that has a palpable value in unprecedented times. Overall, we see the trend is very positive, and expect that we might see more of these actions in the future. The shift marks an era in which firms look to be more accountable and act in a way that’s driven by more human and community-centric decision making,’ adds Tomas.

For more information, please contact Tomas Alonso.