How Business Responds to COVID-19

By WEA Business Coalition

In a most recent Global Business Call more than 50 experts from around the globe have joined in to listen and share about both challenges but also opportunities of businesses due to the corona crisis.

Rev. Timo Plutschinski (Hamburg), Director of the World Evangelical Alliance´s Business Coalition, has initiated and chaired this extraordinary online gathering which was a promising start of a Business Working Group as part of the WEA COVID-19 Task Force.

This task force is led by Dr. David Boan (Boise Idaho), Director of the WEA Relief & Development Department, who claimed that the guidelines for controlling the spread of COVID-19 do not work in the majority of countries with impoverished communities. This is not just a health crisis but it is becoming an economic crisis for which there is no quick fix. Especially in the global South there will be much more economic disruption and the recovery of the business community will be much more difficult.

In terms of current businesses Reuben Coulter (Nairobi), the CEO of the Transformational Business Network, separates in 3 types of companies:
1. Businesses that will thrive
2. Businesses that will ride out the storm
3. Businesses that will be massively affected
He therefore raised the question how we may create an Emergency Investment Fund to support businesses and help them ride out the storm and emerge stronger from the crisis.

Also for current business owners, Chuck Bentley (Knoxville), Chairman of the Christian Economic Forum, has three advises:
1. Forecast for the worst-case scenario for the short term
2. Over-communicate to everybody (board, investors, clients, customers, etc.)
3. Search for the opportunity to grow your business

Due to his expertise with sustainability and disaster risk reductions, Matthias Böhning (Bonn), WEA Representative to the United Nations, asked significantly: “What can we learn from the humanitarian field that can be applied to the business sector?” and emphasized the catchy claim “Building back better”. That means that a catastrophe reveals the best and worst within your team, your business and your whole set-up and could create a cleaning and re-vitalizing effect.

Missy Wallace (New York), Vice President of the Global Faith & Work Initiative, has been thinking through the work disruption that COVID-19 is causing and how the spiritual needs as an individual, organization, industry etc. might differ and if there is any pattern to that. This has led to the creation of the Work Disruption Model:

Please see the full presentation here.

In terms of the role of business Athena Peralta (Geneva), Programme Executive for Economic and Ecological Justice at the World Council of Churches, has claimed that “the business of business is service”. Businesses should be serving customers, employees, society at large but also all creation. As we are now confronted with this global emergency of COVID-19, we need a response that looks to the future. Our Christian faith challenges us to have a long-term perspective rooted in hope even when trying to respond to immediate emergencies in front of us.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Stueckelberger (Zurich), Executive Director of the Geneva Agape Foundation, has also looked into the future raising the question whether we have a Christian answer on the debt crisis. 1 trillion will be needed just for debt cancellation in developing countries. How can we address the government? Can we do something as organizations?
His thoughts in regards to COVID-19 are outlined in this document.

Next Steps

It has been an inspiring, broad-ranged and thoughtful debate covering many aspects of a global issue. All kind of resources regarding “How Business responds to COVID-19” will gradually get collected on this online platform.

Due to the corona virus, there is a major need for masks and other pandemic supplies globally.

One of our partners, Loudania, a kingdom company in Hong Kong (China), is able to deliver huge amounts of licensed products such as N95 and also disposable masks (single price 65 ct) within 3 – 5 days.

We are grateful for this channel to facilitate orders and in doing so, support the work of Christian-led companies.

Please see the product brochure and online shop for the masks and send your order and the amount of needed masks to [email protected].

National Partner Wanted

If you want to become a Partner of this pandemic supplies support in order to offer needed masks and others in your certain country, please contact us at [email protected].

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