September 25, 2020

A global reset: How COVID19 has changed business for good

Written by: Claudia Richard, Director, Yulu PR

There is no doubt that it hasn’t been the year any of us thought it would be. Since the pandemic hit with full force seven months ago, our lives have changed significantly. The consequences of the pandemic – rising inequality, food shortages, and a burgeoning mental health crisis – are heartbreaking.

The silver lining, if we can find one, is that many businesses are waking up to the issues the pandemic has exacerbated. Thanks to a “COVID pause”, or a “global reset”, we have seen an uptick in organizations reflecting on the challenges the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the environmental movement have brought to light – and we are seeing this companies making changes to how their business plans intersect with these broader global challenges in order to make a difference.

In the last financial crisis, certified B Corps (for-profit companies that balance purpose and profit, like Yulu) were 63 per cent more likely to survive than other businesses of a similar size. And between 2006 and 2016, purposeful organizations outperformed other companies in the stock market by a whopping 206%. Consumers increasingly expect businesses to do more than provide a service, and businesses are pivoting with this demand. September brought B Corp’s first $1bn deal, and Danone Dairy UK has joined the B Corp ranks.

I remain encouraged that the push towards purpose and impact continues amid the challenges many companies are facing. Joining Yulu, in the midst of lockdown and economic uncertainty, spoke volumes about the resiliency of purpose-led businesses and their role in the economy. We are in the fortunate position to be taking on new clients, with many organizations waking up from their “COVID pause” to the importance of integrating impact.

For our clients, we find that purpose engenders resilience. We remain hopeful that we will continue to see a surge in organizations committing to the triple bottom line, rather than just supporting their shareholders’ interests.

And perhaps, as a second silver lining to this pandemic, came the news last month that David Attenborough made the plunge and joined Instagram, breaking Jennifer Aniston’s record for the fastest time to reach one million followers. Public awareness of the climate crisis is sky-high, and with awareness comes activism – and change.