21 April, 2020

Managing the corona pandemic can be seen as both a victory and a loss for sustainable entrepreneurship: Many companies are now showing that maximizing profit is not the most important thing. They are repositioning to take on our most important responsibility – saving lives.

At the same time, economic reality means that many companies now have to make hard priorities that have a major impact on sustainability work and often reduce the possibility of taking responsibility in the value chain. Which perspective is considered most important varies, but it is clear that companies need to balance their operations like nation states: how do we combine our corona response with a broader responsibility for people and our planet, both in the short-term and long-term?

In the short term it’s important to analyze the direct impact that things like changed routines, working from home, unemployment and canceled orders have on stakeholders. Do we simply maintain a decent level of sustainability work in line with policies and values? Or has our crisis management meant that people have been treated unreasonably? It is important to speak clearly about the minimum level you feel you must be able to maintain within the company to deal with any shortcomings. A simple cost-benefit analysis can help clarify the right balance and how different aspects should be prioritized against each other. When that is done, it simply involves reviewing what more needs to be done to deliver on what you want to achieve, now and in the future.

In the longer term, the questions are about what life will be like once we come out of the pandemic. For many of us it will be in an economically worse situation. But how do we ensure that the sustainability work built up over a long time is not wasted? And how can we recover lost capacity and sales in the easiest way without sacrificing sustainability?

If we start to analyze these issues today, we can be far better prepared when the time comes. Both by ensuring that key competences or structures do not disappear during the crisis, and by preparing ourselves strategically and organizationally for how to get the best out of the new conditions. We will probably need to restart certain parts, while beginning new initiatives. Constantly integrating a sustainability perspective gives us every opportunity to emerge as a better thought-out and sustainable company once the virus has receded.

At TomorrowToday, we combine sustainability expertise with broad experience in management, organizational development and continuity management. We are happy to help you through any and all of the phases above.

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