On March 26, Domini Impact Investments, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the New York City Comptroller’s Office issued a Statement to the business community in response to the Coronavirus crisis. The initiative asked for global institutional investors to step up as corporate citizens, and recommended measures that can be taken to protect the community and minimize the negative consequences of this pandemic.
In less than a week, The Investor Statement on Coronavirus Response gathered more than 190 signatories’ companies representing over $4.7 trillion in assets under management, and they will continue to encourage companies to sign it. The response urges for five main actions to be taken into consideration1:
1. Provide paid leave: We urge companies to make emergency paid leave available to all employees, including temporary, part time, and subcontracted workers. Without paid leave, social distancing and self-isolation are not broadly possible.
2. Prioritize health and safety: Protecting worker and public safety is essential for maintaining business reputations, consumer confidence and the social license to operate, as well as staying operational. Workers should avoid or limit exposure to COVID-19 as much as possible. Potential measures include rotating shifts; remote work; enhanced protections, trainings or cleaning; adopting the occupational safety and health guidance, and closing locations, if necessary.
3. Maintain employment: We support companies taking every measure to retain workers as widespread unemployment will only exacerbate the current crisis. Retaining a well-trained and committed workforce will permit companies to resume operations as quickly as possible once the crisis is resolved. Companies considering layoffs should also be mindful of potential discriminatory impact and the risk for subsequent employment discrimination cases.
4. Maintain supplier/customer relationships: As much as possible, maintaining timely or prompt payments to suppliers and working with customers facing financial challenges will help to stabilize the economy, protect our communities and small businesses and ensure a stable supply chain is in place for business operations to resume normally in the future.
5. Financial prudence: During this period of market stress, we expect the highest level of ethical financial management and responsibility. As responsible investors, we recognize this may include companies’ suspending share buybacks and showing support for the predicaments of their constituencies by limiting executive and senior management compensation for the duration of this crisis.
Although the consequences of COVID-19 are still fully unpredictable, CCM continues to ensure uninterrupted service while protecting the health and safety of our clients, colleagues, and employees, and joined the 190+ signatories parties in the Investor Statement on Coronavirus Response. Access the full statement here.