How the Pandemic Could Impact Sustainable Business Practices

Facebook blurb: The COVID-19 outbreak has radically transformed how businesses around the world operate. While the pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on the economy and public health, it has also led to many examples of companies and individuals working towards the collective good. Read our blog to discover what implications this may have for a more sustainable post-pandemic society.

Within an extremely short span of time, the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically transformed how businesses around the world operate. While the pandemic has undoubtedly taken a tremendous toll – both on the economy and public health – it has shown us that humans on a wide scale can swiftly come together to work towards the collective good. At the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, we believe that this demonstration of compassion, in turn, has some serious implications for how we can work together towards a more sustainable society.

Companies prioritizing people over profit

As the pandemic persists, more and more companies are realizing that putting their health and safety of their employees and customers is the only responsible thing to do. Countless businesses have changed their processes and altered their supply chains so that they can help employees and customers minimize risk. Whether that means allowing staff to work from home, beefing up sick pay and medical leave, or providing customers with curbside pick-up, they have made accommodations that prioritize humanity over the bottom line.

The parallels here to more sustainable business practices are clear. Many of the changes businesses are currently implementing could already have a significant impact on the environment. Part of being truly sustainable is emphasizing the health of not only the environment, but of people, as well, meaning that companies could carry this spirit of human-centric business practices long past the pandemic.

Swiftly curbing carbon emissions

This pandemic has already had a significant impact on environmental health. Around the world, carbon emissions have decreased at record rates. While this is, of course, largely due to quarantine measures, it shows us that measures companies are already taking – like improved work from home policies that cut down on commuting – could continue to have a beneficial impact on the environment if continued after the pandemic is over. In general, this phenomenon has shown that governments and companies alike can quickly rally resources to fight a global threat.

Drastic changes in consumption

Unemployment rates are skyrocketing – in the United States, the Fed estimates that job losses could rise to over 47 million – and the economy is suffering. As a result, many people have largely curbed their spending. Because many are only buying the essentials, this crisis may result in a wider consciousness of overconsumption and its negative impact on the environment. Consumers are paying attention to how companies demonstrate their social consciousness more so now than ever. After the pandemic, providing sustainable products and services won’t only be environmentally responsible – but likely also more critical for branding than in the past.

A sustainable vision for post-pandemic business

Individuals, companies, and governments alike are banding together to contain the pandemic and protect what matters most: our health and happiness. Once this crisis passes, however – and it will – we can keep this humanitarian momentum by investing more attention and resources into sustainable practices.

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council is committed to purchasing practices that benefit the health of communities, economies, and environments along both local and global supply chains. To learn more about such initiatives from renowned supplier diversity pioneers and social justice advocates, attend the virtual 2020 SPLC Summit, which takes place May 18-20th. Register today!

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