Most companies in the early stage of the pandemic were understandably preoccupied by financial consequences and implications to their employees. Now, the challenge will be to repurpose the relationship between business and government and define a new idea of corporate responsibility.
Beating the pandemic has required resources beyond the public sector, e.g. beds needed by private hospitals, testing in clinics, or companies repurposing supply chains to make vital supplies available, for example, Toyota manufacturing face shields and Sharp supplying masks.
Now, governments need to develop a new way of working with companies. Setting and enforcing rules will continue with the pandemic but they have to engage businesses and civil society at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Companies can provide adaptability and speed of delivery as well as provide targeted communications to different segments of the population from their marketing expertise. Global companies can add momentum across borders. For example, in Columbia, the government, the UNDP, business leaders and universities created a “Shields for Life” initiative to address public health risks and to protect vulnerable people. More examples can be found on the ‘Better Together’ web platform which LSE IDEAS launched.