Business for Impact is here to support you and all of our partners committed to unleashing the power of business to do good – especially in these challenging times. We are heartened to see so many of our corporate partners responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with generosity and innovation. While this lethal virus is devastating communities, crushing the global economy, decimating entire industries, and putting millions out of work, businesses are launching new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to help families, workers, and communities fight back.
In this first installment of Business for Impact’s e-newsletter focused on CSR and the coronavirus, we feature some of our corporate partners’ early responses to the pandemic highlighting what works across various industries – from retrofitting breweries to manufacture hand sanitizer to ramping up pharmacy telehealth, and more.
In times of crisis – whether due to a pandemic, earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, or other disasters – the best CSR efforts first meet urgent needs of people most impacted. This includes the employees and customers who are part of the local communities where a business sources and operates. Smart CSR strategies leverage all of the assets in a business’ arsenal, including not only real-time philanthropy but also brand power, operational capabilities, supply chain leverage, customer networks, nonprofit partnerships, and more. Let’s look at how some of our corporate partners are deploying these CSR best practices today. When disaster strikes, vulnerable communities need cash to address immediate needs. Bank of America committed $100 million to communities impacted by the coronavirus. Business for Impact was proud to see our founding partner act quickly after the pandemic was announced on March 11 by the World Health Organization. Funds will bolster medical response, food insecurity, access to learning, and support for vulnerable populations in Bank of America’s local markets.
Other generous cash donors include our New Strategies for Nonprofit Leaders program sponsors JPMorgan Chase, who committed $50 million globally to communities impacted by the pandemic; American Express, who pledged $5 million to support groups like International Medical Corps and Feeding America; and Wells Fargo who will give $175 million.Some industries are well-positioned to help fight the virus on the front lines, including pharmaceutical and goods retailers like CVS Health and Target.
CVS Healthis using all the tools in its arsenal to make a positive impact on customers and communities during the crisis. CVS Health remains committed to keeping its stores open. To meet exploding demand, CVS Health is ramping up capacity to serve customers, including hiring 50,000 more workers and giving $500 bonuses to employees who work during the COVID-19 crisis. Also, CVS Health is pivoting to help communities in need by ramping up no-cost home-delivery services, waiving co-pays for subscribers to Aetna insurance, lifting refill limits, and more to promote social distancing.
Target is also scaling up while investing more than $300 million in added wages, introducing a new paid leave program, offering bonus payouts, and relief fund contributions. In order to respond to community needs quickly and effectively, Target is inviting its “guests” (customers) to direct which local nonprofits receive its corporate donations.Companies are rejiggering manufacturing capabilities to produce urgently needed supplies and ensure that essential goods flow through supply chains.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev) operates breweries worldwide, including in China where COVID-19 first surfaced. ABInBev quickly pivoted to manufacture hand sanitizer and disinfectant to donate to hospitals and frontline healthcare workers, using alcohol extracted from the brewing process of its non-alcohol beers. Here in the United States, ABInBev’s Budweiser is redeploying its sports sponsorship investments to keep stadiums open for American Red Cross blood drives.
The global food company Nestlé is laser-focused on keeping products moving through sustainable supply chains and into local markets and stores. Nestlé has promised to pay full salaries to employees affected by work stoppages for a minimum of three months and has temporarily raised wages for factory and distribution center workers in order to protect them from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Also, Nestlé is donating food, bottled water, medical nutrition, and cash to impacted communities.These are a few examples of effective corporate responses to COVID-19. We will share more highlights from our partners in future Business for Impact e-newsletters throughout this crisis, with insights into both how companies can best respond in real-time and how they can aid longer term relief and recovery. We know from our experience working in and teaching CSR here at the McDonough School of Business that fighting a crisis like COVID-19 is not just a sprint – it’s a marathon.
We invite you to help us understand what else companies are doing, including what’s working, what’s not, and what business can do betterby sharing your stories with us on Twitter using the hashtag #CSR+COVID-19 or email email@example.com (new window).
Finally, a heartfelt thank you to all of our partners – especially our New Strategies nonprofit leaders who work in health, medical, and social service fields risking their lives to fight on the front lines every day.