Week of 6 April 2020
An ever growing number of companies are taking measures that seek to (i) tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, (ii) protect their employees and (iii) consider impacts on their value chain workers
A number of resources detail what companies are doing in response to COVID-19. JUST Capital provides a COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker describing company actions. Market research firm GlobeScan has compiled a list of corporate response to the COVID-19 crisis. The following list provides some illustrative examples:
Contributions to tackle the pandemic:
- Ikea is providing €26m of in-kind donations (beds, bedding, food and toys) to hospitals, medical centres and shelters.
- Google is providing a US$25 million donation of ad credits to the World Health Organization (WHO) and government agencies.
- Facebook is providing unlimited free ad credits to the WHO to promote accurate information about the crisis. The company is removing false claims and conspiracy theories flagged by global health organizations, and blocking people from running ads exploiting the situation (e.g. falsely advertising a cure).
- All of the main newspapers in Argentina agreed to print the same covers (on March 19th) to combat the virus in an action coordinated by the National Association of Newspapers (Adepa). This was followed by newspapers in Brazil, in an action coordinated by the Brazilian National Newspapers Association (ANJ).
- Nike launched a worldwide Campaign called “Play inside, play for the world” encouraging people to stay indoors and remain active.
- Michelin starred chef José Andrés turned 8 restaurants into community kitchens, giving meals away for free or selling them for $7.
- The Listoke Distillery and Gin School in Ireland stopped its gin production to make hand sanitiser.
- The Seattle Foundation launched a COVID-19 Response Fund to address the community needs of COVID-19, with Microsoft making an initial $1 million donation and other contributions from Amazon, Starbucks and Alaska Airlines.
- Novartis created a USD20 million global fund to support impacted communities. This fund provides grants of up to USD 1 million for initiatives that strengthen local and national healthcare infrastructure, establish digital platforms for COVID-19 (for data collection, remote delivery of healthcare and dissemination of public health information) and create or enhance new community health programs specific to the pandemic response.
- Lululemon will continue to pay employees for hours they were scheduled to work during shop closures, and is providing them access to a Global Pay Relief plan.
- Lloyds Bank suspended 780 planned job cuts across its bank branches in the UK, amid a surge in demand and uncertainty over how many staff may need to self-isolate.
- Shopify in Canada gave employees $1,000 to buy office supplies while they work from home.
- Retailer Hema in China worked with 30 local restaurants that were closed to hire 2,000 staff to help meet the surging demand for deliveries and groceries.
Downstream business relationships:
- Standard Bank is offering SMEs in South Africa a 90-day loan repayment holiday to limit the financial impact of the crisis.
- Petrochemical company Braskem is making a new expansion of credit lines available to its customers in Brazil, and is providing an additional credit line for all defaulting customers.
- MYBank, the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce and 105 Chinese banks launched the “Non-contact Loan Micro-assistance Plan” to provide financial support to around 10 million micro and-small enterprises resuming work around China.
- US network providers (Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Google, T-Mobile and Sprint) signed a pledge to keep Americans connected to the internet for the next 60 days, even if customers cannot afford to pay.