09 Jul How COVID-19 Is Transforming Resilient Response
Launched in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Resilient Response Initiative was created to challenge major corporations to take a more proactive, thoughtful approach to disaster response.
The organizers of the joint initiative — a conglomerate of private companies and nonprofit organizations, believed that — believed that a shift in disaster giving was critically needed. That’s because some 60 percent of goods donated during times of disaster go to waste, and the problem is only getting more severe given the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters around the globe.
Now, another shift is necessary — thanks to the public health crisis sparked by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Disaster response has taken on a whole new meaning with COVID-19. This is a disaster that is occurring on a global scale, affecting virtually every country and community around the world.
The coronavirus has forced companies to reimagine the workplace, schools to rethink teaching, and people everywhere to reconsider how they interact socially with each other. COVID-19 is also reshaping disaster response, including our Resilient Response initiative.
The initiative asked corporations to commit to six strategic pillars. So far, dozens of influential companies have committed to the Resilient Response pledge, including UPS, the Coca-Cola Company, Walmart, Levi’s, CarMax, Lyft, Mattel, GAF, CVS Health, Airbnb, Hasbro, United Airlines, and many more.
Here’s a look at how these key pillars might be rethought in light of the coronavirus:
Proactive: We will have plans in place before disaster strikes so we can respond effectively.
The U.S. response to COVID-19 has been hampered by much publicized shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and testing capabilities. Meanwhile, the economic effects have been devastating for millions of businesses and workers.
Obviously, very few people, municipalities, and organizations were prepared to confront a health crisis on this kind of a scale. With some hard lessons learned, we can all anticipate the next pandemic with more planning, better stockpiles of equipment, and more effective strategies to protect the public.
Needs-based: We will find out what a community needs as the key driver of our support, collaborating and learning from others who are also responding.
In the early days of the pandemic, there was a critical need for PPE such as medical-grade masks and gloves. Now that COVID-19 has become both a public health and economic disaster, the needs are now much broader. They include financial relief and food for struggling families, and a range of goods such as educational materials for children quarantining at home, hygiene products, clothing, and baby products for people facing economic hardship.
Thanks to our generous corporate partners, Good360 has been meeting many of these needs by distributing more than $100 million worth of goods so far in this pandemic.
Immediate & Long-term: We will address immediate and long-term needs, staying in communities well after the cameras leave.
The world will be dealing with the coronavirus for a long time, even after a vaccine is developed. While we are mostly focused on the immediate needs of frontline workers and vulnerable communities at this stage, we also need to consider ways to mitigate the long-term effects of the pandemic.
Experts believe it will be years before the economy will fully recover from the damage of COVID-19.
Resilience-focused: We will leave communities stronger than before disaster struck, helping them to better withstand future disasters.
Creating resilient communities is more important than ever. The pandemic has triggered the biggest global economic meltdown since at least 1870 and could lead to a dramatic rise in poverty, the World Bank has warned. The disastrous economic impact could leave many communities more vulnerable to other disasters because of strained resources, higher unemployment and business closures.
Transparent: We will be transparent about our actions and hold ourselves accountable to deliver on promises.
COVID-19 is reshaping corporate social responsibility. In these unprecedented and uncertain times, consumers expect corporations to stand up and help out. They expect action and accountability, and have become hyper-critical of companies that don’t seem like they are doing enough to protect the health and safety of their employees, customers and the public.
Educational: We will educate our associates, colleagues, consumers and the public on how they can better respond to disasters.
The pandemic has been a learning experience for everyone. Without a doubt, there will be very valuable lessons to come out of this crisis. As companies navigate their way out, sharing best practices and effective strategies will be critical to being better prepared for the next pandemic (which is inevitable, given the pace of globalization and climate change, scientists say).
In just a few short months, the world has changed dramatically, affecting how billions of people live and work. Corporations have a huge role to play in terms of providing relief, protecting the public, and mitigating the long-term devastation of the virus. We believe this Resilient Response framework is an excellent place to start to rethink your disaster response strategy.
If you haven’t done so already, sign the Resilient Response pledge here.