How a Business Can Use Sustainable Best Practices in Addressing Coronavirus Impacts

Insights to survive this crisis through sustainability and building business success.

 

The coronavirus epidemic will impact your business sales, supply chain deliveries and work associate availability. The triple bottom line focus on people, planet and profits of sustainable business practices provide insights on what to do and how to do it.

  • Customers Seek Trust Through Authenticity and Transparency

During this health crisis, the sustainability business practices of authenticity and transparency are critical to winning customer trust and maintaining sales.

Actions speak volumes in establishing your business’ authentic and transparent health commitments. For example, all businesses should have front door greeters in place to provide hand sanitizers and to answer questions like how often surfaces are sanitized.

Authenticity will be won or lost by how businesses address the free market’s ugly side of hoarding and price gouging. Every business should have a working plan to limit individual purchase amounts to levels representative of historical consumer purchase averages.

No business wishing to keep it customers should be participating in price gouging. Doing so may increase today’s revenues but at the longer-term expense of forever losing customers’ trust.

Social media has a huge role in addressing consumer concerns. Stop promoting and start assuring with messaging that is authentic and trustworthy. Begin conversations on what actions customers would like to see in place at your business.

  • Work Associates Seek Leadership

This health crisis is hugely stressful for your work associates. How a business treats their work associates during this health crisis will create a legacy that will either grow work associate retention and motivation or probably lose it forever.

Now is the time for leadership. Work associates need to hear from the top. And the message should be well thought out. It should identify and address work associates’ concerns on sick leave, family leave and the potential for layoffs.

Leadership messaging must authentically represent leadership’s commitment and the company’s financial capability to support work associates. Don’t sugar coat or over motivate with visionary commitment. Tell it like it is, including a trustworthy commitment based on financial reality.

And most importantly, leaders should not make just make a speech and then go back to the office. Leadership being out there among the work associates, pitching in when possible, is as telling and authentic as what a leader says.

  • Measure Your Supply Chain Using Sustainability’s Triple Bottom Line

Corporate America has been greening its supply chain. The coronavirus pandemic will drive this process to higher levels of commitment and action.

Supply will be the near-term supply chain issue. Restoring and restarting manufacturing facilities will not be easy or a short timeframe process. Today’s manufacturing facilities run-on real-time inventory control systems. There is limited onsite raw goods and part inventories to “black start” operations. In addition, the healthy return of workers at many manufacturing locations will take time. There will be a lot of starting, slowing down, stopping and then restarting. Re-read the above on limiting customer purchases to historical levels and price gouging as your business attempts to adopt to delivery volatility.

The longer-term supply chain issue is what should your business do now in anticipation of the coronavirus re-emerging this Fall or in Winter 2021? Now is the time to start dialogues with your suppliers on their actions to increase health sustainability. Now is the time to begin exploring new supplier contract bid criteria and contract language tied to health sustainability.

  • Sustainability’s Lessons Learned Again

It was not like the threat of a pandemic was not on the radar. No more than the growing impacts from climate change. The most obvious lesson learned from the coronavirus is that businesses must proactively adopt sustainability as a core business metric and practice.

Sustainability is grounded in the science of human and environmental health. Its best practices are proven to create long term business success. The stocks with the highest ESG (environment, social and governance) performance are outperforming compared to stock market indexes. In 2019, nine of the top 10 ESG funds outperformed the S&P 500 index.

Survive this crisis and learn this lesson, sustainability builds business success.

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