During the COVID-19 outbreak, company responses have been scrutinized with a strong focus on employee health and safety. In light of investors and other stakeholders placing more emphasis on the “S” in ESG, we explored whether initiatives with a purpose to improve the social issues of “Employee Health & Safety” and/or “Labor Practices” responded to the pandemic and what kind of content they provided. We analyzed the responses of initiatives included in the Business Leadership in Society Database.
Could ESG scores have predicted the Wirecard scandal? Moral Money analyzed Wirecard’s ESG scores and found that the company received an average score by several data providers that missed the red flag. Consequently, some ESG ETFs held Wirecard stock. An outlier is DWS’s ESG fund, which saw the red flag in April and sold its stake in Wirecard.
The ability of companies to react to external and internal pressures and the role of boards in relation to socioeconomic issues has been increasingly scrutinized. A recent survey of more than 300 directors conducted by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) reveals which governance challenges are likely to dominate directors’ attention. According to the results (see graph on the right), the biggest governance challenges will be: 1) Shaping a realistic post-crisis strategy, 2) Ensuring the ongoing health and safety of employees and 3) Getting up to speed on all the emerging risk dimensions of the crisis. In addition, the survey identifies the highest impact trends going forward, including 1) The changing way in which work gets done, 2) Reduced Global Demand, and 3) Acceleration of digital transformation.
Forbes launched the Forbes Corporate Responders: a new ranking which assesses how well the 100 largest employers among U.S. public companies reacted to Covid-19 based on JUST Capital’s Covid-19 Corporate Response Tracker. The top 10 companies are: Verizon, Target, AT&T, Walmart, T-Mobile, Lowe’s Companies, Starbucks, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, and the Kroger Co.
As companies face unprecedented challenges, JUST Capital launched the COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker
to explore the actions CEOs and corporate leaders of America’s 100 largest public employers are taking to
support and protect their workers, among others. According to the tracker, the most common actions taken by
companies during the pandemic include offering special accommodations to customers such as discounts (64%
of companies) and allowing remote or modified schedules (also 64%). Other key metrics and results include [as
of 20th April]: