Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Pandemic-Created Challenges Become Corporate Responsibility Opportunities

Companies have a unique chance to improve CSR policies and boost efforts toward fostering sustainability, alleviating causes of climate change, promoting resiliency, adopting the circular economy and more. 

Uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has plagued businesses around the globe—particularly those in the supply-chain community—accentuating weaknesses never seen before. However, if considered from a different perspective, it has given rise to opportunities for these same companies to shine like beacons in the night. 

When the pandemic first hit, supply chains were disrupted—so much so that an everyday consumer quickly understood what the supply chain was and how it might impact being able to access goods in a timely manner. Businesses quickly realized the supply chain was a weak point as lockdowns created global disruptions and wreaked havoc on nearly every single industry. The risks were felt worldwide, tying together a common tread in nearly every single company. 

Assessing the risks 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) suggests Covid-19 has exposed three primary stress points on information, technology and communication (ICT) supply chains: inventory management, supply-chain transparency, and single source and single region suppliers. 

These three areas have long been weak points in the supply chain, but the pandemic accentuated them. We’ve seen regional disasters—such as earthquakes and plant shutdowns—expose these challenges, but the pandemic marks one of the first times we’ve seen the impact on a global scale. 

Numbers from Accenture show that roughly 94 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have seen supply-chain disruptions from Covid-19, while 75 percent of companies have had negative or strongly negative impacts on their businesses. Nearly every business has experienced some sort of setback. 

Still, now more than ever the opportunity exists to improve corporate social responsibility policies and establish or boost efforts toward fostering sustainability, alleviating causes of climate change, promoting resiliency, adopting the circular economy and more. PwC’s Covid-19 CFO Pulse Survey finds 75 percent of respondents expect that their business would be back to normal within three months if Covid-19 were to end immediately. 

What’s more, improving resiliency in the supply chain creates the opportunity for sustainability initiatives. 

Uncovering opportunity 

Many enterprises — construction, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and more — have shored up their business. The businesses that have done this in the wake of the pandemic understand that they must be involved in continual reinvention and innovation. They recognize the importance of the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence) and more. They understand that with challenge comes opportunity. 

In a McKinsey survey from May 2020, roughly 93 percent of supply-chain executives reported they plan to take steps to make their supply chains more resilient, including building in redundancy across suppliers, nearshoring, reducing the number of unique parts and regionalizing their supply chains. Perhaps the answer comes in the form of environmental, social and governance (ESG), as well as through innovation. 

At its core, ESG is the objective of a company to operate in a way that is socially and environmentally conscious, while also keeping in mind the corporate goals of the company. In a 2020 Manufacturer’s Alliance for Productivity and Innovation study, more than 70 percent of manufacturing executives say ESG goals will become important in the next 12 months. 

Consider the example of US Foods, which recently released its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. While it instituted policies and procedures to prevent the spread of the virus, as many businesses did, it also donated nearly $43 million in food and supplies to banks and charitable organizations across the country. All the while, it has experienced a 6.9-percent reduction in gallons of fuel used per case delivered since 2015 and achieved a 7.3-percent reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions since 2015. Amid a pandemic, it was also able to reach its 2020 responsibly sourced seafood goal. 

Sustainability, climate change, resiliency, circular economy and even corporate social responsibility are part of the corporate mission and vision of a highly successful company. Now, we are seeing a focus on these areas, as corporations are looking at how to move on to a better normal following the pandemic. 

What comes next is a stronger and more resilient world in which businesses recognize with disruption comes opportunity to focus on environmental, social, governance, and more, to save our ecosystem.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.