Long-term impacts of COVID-19

    How business responds to COVID-19 will undoubtedly shape the decade to come. If we are to truly recover from the pandemic and its impacts, then it will not be about putting things back together to how they were – we need to build back better and address these deep systemic vulnerabilities that have been allowed to develop over the last decades. So what are the main challenges ahead and how will business navigate them in the long term?

    For more information, please contact Uta Jungermann.

    The challenge

    COVID-19 was not unpredictable. But we were unprepared. Beyond the obvious short-term impacts (such as loss of life, a profound hit to economic and social activity), the pandemic is likely to cast a long shadow. The medium- and long-term impacts are however not all predetermined: much depends on what governments, societies and businesses will do next. What lessons can we distill that can feed into your own future scenario, resilience and business continuity planning? How can the business community more effectively prepare for short term (e.g. pandemic) and longer-term (e.g. climate change) shocks to global systems (economic, food, health, etc.)? In what ways will the current upending of global supply chains change how business source goods, material and labor into the future? What is the role for business to address inequality going forward? How to ensure that transformation in support of sustainability is at the core of businesses’ response to the COVID-19 crisis?

    The business case

    Understanding the existing trends, challenges and opportunities being exposed, influenced, and accelerated by the pandemic is critical to the development of recovery strategies in line with WBCSD’s Vision of 9+ billion people, living well, within planetary boundaries.

    The solution

    WBCSD’s work on long-term impacts of COVID-19 is closely linked to the Council’s Project aiming to refresh Vision 2050. The ambition is to provide members with analysis and guidance to ensure that transformation to a sustainable future (in support of the Vision 2050 goals) remains at the heart of business’ COVID-19 response and our future recovery. The collaborative work support businesses in enhancing their planning and preparation for a world of shocks, including by addressing the challenges of weakened health systems, entrenched inequalities in a post-COVID world and the likely urge to ramp up economic activity, regardless of impact, to recover at any cost. Key deliverables include issue briefs on the consequences of COVID-19 on the decade ahead and on stakeholder capitalism at a time of crisis, coupled with guidance on how business and economies can better prepare for, and become more resilient to, future crises. 

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