A growing number of companies are providing products and services to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from repurposing production lines to manufacture face masks, hand gel and medical equipment, to providing computing resources, open data and product donations

Week of 23 March 2020

A growing number of companies are providing products and services to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from repurposing production lines to manufacture face masks, hand gel and medical equipment, to providing computing resources, open data and product donations

Here are some illustrative examples:

  • IBM, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have volunteered free compute time and resources on their machines to the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, a public-private initiative (spearheaded by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the US Department of Energy and IBM) to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the most powerful high performance computing resources to increase the pace of scientific discovery
  • Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies announced they will leverage their existing partnership (focused on mapping population-wide adaptive immune responses to diseases) at scale to study COVID-19 and make the resulting data freely available via an open data access portal to any researcher, public health official or organisation around the world
  • HP has mobilised its 3D printing team and its Digital Manufacturing Partner Network to design and produce essential parts for medical responders and hospitals (e.g. ventilator valves, breathing filters, face mask clasps, plastic door handle adaptors to prevent spread of the virus). The company is making its HP proprietary design files for these parts available so they can be produced anywhere in the world. HP is also donating HP BioPrinters to NGOs, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug and vaccine research
  • Maersk has offered its transportation services to send emergency supplies around the world, which includes maintaining and creating new shipping routes that are not commercially viable. (In parallel, global union The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has requested that Maersk put in place certain procedures to protect the crew on ships from infection, and to support them if they become ill)
  • Unilever is donating €100 million-worth of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food – half of which will be provided to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum (an initiative supporting global health organisations and agencies with their response to the emergency), while the other half will be in the form of product donations, partnerships and hand-washing education programmes at national and local levels, including in the US, India, China, UK, Netherlands and Italy
  • Ford Motor Company is working with GE to increase GE’s capability to deliver ventilators, and with 3M to increase the production of air purifying respirators. In-house, Ford is 3D printing face shields and N95 masks
  • Nine American apparel companies (including Fruit of the Loom, Hanesbrands, Beverly Knits, American Giant and AST Sportswear) joined a coalition organised by yarn spinner Parkdale to repurpose their factories and production lines to produce face masks. They are seeking to dispatch their first shipments this week and aim to produce 5m-10m masks a week by mid-April
  • Kering SA announced that it would start producing surgical masks for French hospitals at the production sites of its Balenciaga and Saint Laurent brands in France
  • LVMH announced that it will start to use all the production facilities of its perfumes and cosmetics brands (including Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain and Parfums Givenchy) in France to produce hand washing hydroalcoholic gel to be provided for free to French health authorities. LVMH also secured the delivery of 40 million face masks from China which it will dispatch to French health services over the next month
  • Inditex (Zara) stated that it would convert a portion of its textile manufacturing capacity in Spain to produce hospital gowns for Spanish hospitals. The company also said it would make its logistics and supplier network abroad (e.g. in China) available to Spain to provide the government with medical and textile materials (e.g. protective masks, gloves, goggles and caps)
  • H&M stated that it would use its supply network to source protective gear for health workers (protective masks, gowns and gloves) in hospitals, with the first supplies being donated for free. The protective gear will be delivered to hospitals of greatest need, as determined by the EU
  • Firmenich adapted the production of its Geneva manufacturing sites to produce 20 tons of disinfectant solution, which it donated to the Geneva University Hospital and medical and emergency services in Switzerland
  • Ipsos has partnered with The Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Resolve to Save Lives to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Africa. Ipsos will provide data (on the impact of COVID-19, behaviours surrounding it, and control measures put in place in African countries), which Africa CDC and Resolve will use to develop Africa-specific guidelines to be disseminated throughout the continent

(See also ICC-WHO Joint Statement: An unprecedented private sector call to action to tackle COVID-19 and the WEF’s COVID Action Platform)

“It’s incumbent on business leaders everywhere to commit to supporting employees at every level of their organization in the unpredictable weeks and months ahead. … But this is a moment that calls on us to do more than care for our own employees, partners, and communities. Each of us has a role to play in combating this pandemic and supporting our society’s response to it. We must do all we can to help healthcare workers around the world who are selflessly fighting to save lives.”
Enrique Lores, President & CEO, HP Inc., HP’s CEO: Help now, plan for the future (March 24, 2020)