As part of an ongoing series about our changing lives under quarantine, we’re sharing some of the products, services and activities that have helped us stay connected with our friends, family, and communities.
Communities flourish in economies that embrace interconnectivity, making way for a culture of giving and opportunities to influence. The coronavirus outbreak turned the world upside down, yet despite being one of the most vulnerable moments the world has ever faced, solidarity and a shared sense of communality have risen in this time of crisis. Grassroots initiatives have flourished, with the able supporting those on the frontlines, donating to those in need, and taking initiatives for the unable. Some of the quickest to step up and respond with acts of kindness include a variety of businesses of all sizes and services. In the same way that communities affect companies, private enterprises have recognised and acted on their ability to shape different areas of society; from its employees to research and development. To commemorate this momentous occasion of empathetic solidarity, we brought together a list of initiatives enterprises around the world are doing to help communities and be accountable to their social responsibility.
From major manufacturers repurposing their factories to donate ventilators to hospitals, and campaigns raising funds to support the NHS through intimate storytelling sessions, a list of over 100 corporate initiatives can be found below:
Rent waivers from property owners
Insecurity regarding employment and overall revenue has put many tenants in vulnerable circumstances when it comes to making the month’s due, jeopardising an already tenuous relationship between property owners and renters. In this interconnected economy, declines in income further burden property groups who have their own expenditures to cover. Talks about clemency have led to decisions making way for burden-sharing between landlords and tenants. British Land, a major UK property owner, forgoed rent for at a cost of about £3 million for small and medium-sized businesses. For larger tenants, British Land has allowed a spread of their second-quarter rent payment over an 18-month extended period.
Collaborations to campaign for the NHS
For family-focused businesses, British interactive toy manufacturer Tonies launched a campaign to raise funds for NHS Charities Together. To support essential workers and volunteers, Tonies has collaborated with some of Britain’s favourite celebrities to provide families at home with an interactive storytelling experience while raising funds for charity. Famous personalities reinvigorate life into storytelling by recording themselves reading classic children’s stories and poems for kids to listen to across the nation. Funds for this program are donated to NHS Charities Together to supply care-kits and cover everyday expenses for frontline workers and volunteers, providing patients in isolation with devices to communicate with their loved ones, and offering mental-health support to NHS staff, volunteers, patients, and their families.
Emergency aid and employee volunteering schemes
German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has launched a global support program and contributed to emergency aid programs in its local markets in the form of financial and material relief, valued at €5.8 million (almost £5.2 million). Boehringer Ingelheim is also currently partnering with local organisations to redirect their funds to help patients in the communities in which these organisations are based. In China, the company has donated RMB1 million (approximately £113,000) to the China Red Cross Foundation to purchase protective medical wear for hospitals in Hubei province, in which Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus – is located. Concerning their 51,000 employees, the enterprise is supporting a volunteering scheme for employees keen to help COVID-19 relief efforts through a 10-day paid leave plan. Employees are compensated their regular salaries by volunteering if they are unable to perform their work remotely or in-person until they can go back to work.
Fashion houses for COVID-19 relief
Among fashion retailers, Ralph Lauren has donated over US$10 million (nearly £8 million) to COVID-19 relief efforts. The fashion house has also started to produce 250,000 face masks and 25,000 isolation gowns for healthcare professionals. More recently, Ralph Lauren joined the industry’s efforts to support members of the US fashion community impacted by the pandemic as the first designer to donate US$1 million to the Council of Fashion Designers America (CFDA) and Vogue Fashion Fund.
Repurposing factories for essential supplies
Businesses, both large and small, have been repurposing their factories and manufacturing equipment to alleviate shortages of essential medical and protective equipment to meet hygiene regulations and minimize the transmission of the coronavirus. German dental care company PlusDental has converted their in-house 3D printers (one of the largest in the Berlin area) normally used to make their dental correction products for patients into a printer for protective masks. As oral practitioners, the company understands how medical professionals such as dentists face high exposure to diseases and close proximity to those at risk. To lower the chances of exposure, the PlusDental has made their self-produced protective masks available to the community and is distributing them free of cost to hospitals and medical practitioners. The donations for these masks, in addition, are financing operations for children through the Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e. V., a non-profit that operates on children with cleft lips and palates who also receive accompanying speech therapy.
For more information on what companies are doing to support their local communities and the global fight against the coronavirus, please visit this link.