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Let’s make the pandemic history

27 May, 2021

It’s surprisingly rare for us at Good Business to think that all businesses should act on the same issue, in the same way, at the same time. Our ethos is built around organisations finding their precise point of intersection with the world – where their brand and business strengths meet what society needs – and acting in a distinctive way to deliver genuine impact.

But this is a moment when we think the business community should stand up and act together in unity. Because there is a global challenge of such urgency and importance for all of us that everyone needs to move.

That challenge is to vaccinate the world.

Only 9.5% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

There are so many reasons why this is indescribably wrong that it’s hard to know where to start. Saving lives should need no justification. But I want to focus in on why we think it’s the responsibility of every business to step up and help create change.

The pandemic triggered the deepest global economic recession in nearly a century, disrupting economic activity, and hurting well-being and jobs everywhere. The vaccines provide us with a way out – enabling the liberation of the global economy. We’re living the benefits here in the UK, as we come blinking out into the light, and economic engines fire up. But in many countries around the world vaccination programmes are not moving fast enough to cut infection rates or stop new variants taking hold. While the US, the UK and other high-income companies are on track to deliver vaccines to all adults who want them in the coming months, dozens of the world’s poorest countries have not inoculated a single person.

This puts the recovery everywhere in jeopardy. Unless we increase global vaccination rates the outlook for growth will darken. The OECD put it succinctly: ‘More jabs means more jobs.’ It states that speeding up vaccine production and rollout is the best economic policy available today to boost growth and job creation. The IMF concurs: ‘a faster end to the pandemic not only saves lives, but also could inject the equivalent of $9tn into the global economy by 2025 due to a faster resumption of economic activity.’

That’s why this is business’s moment. We have the chance to make the pandemic history. The beneficiaries of stability and growth need to breathe life back into the system on which we all depend. Now is the time to rise to the collective challenge and pave the way out.

So what should you do?

Well vaccinating the world is obviously not straightforward. But Covax, the international scheme set up to ensure equitable access, provides the mechanism to make it happen. It needs additional investment of around $4 billion to ensure it can vaccinate 40% of the world’s population by the end of this year and 60% by the end of next. Other steps are vital too – cross-border flows of raw materials, donations of unused vaccines, and vaccine uptake. But ensuring Covax has the financing it needs is fundamental.

And this is where business needs to step in to help.

We believe businesses everywhere should be activating their ecosystems and using the power of their networks to start raising funds for Covax.

You have to start with the right mindset. This is ultimately about money but it doesn’t go in the community activity or charitable donations box. It’s an investment in business futures. And according to the IMF it’s likely to deliver the greatest financial return in modern history.

There’s also the fact that ORB data from April 2021 shows 77% of people agree with the statement ‘If a company donated to the global vaccine effort I would think well of them.’ The public completely get the fact that the world needs to be vaccinated, that we’ll only ever be safe if we’re all safe. 89% agree it’s important for everyone in the world to be offered a vaccine. Individuals, schools and community groups are all running fundraising efforts, contributing over £2.2 million to Vaccinaid so far.

Businesses that get this right will be recognised for it and rewarded for it  – there’s little more likely to make people walk towards you.

What does getting this right look like? Well while as we said at the beginning, this is a cause for everyone, businesses still need to find their own path to activation. Of course you should donate as an organisation, but this is also about finding ways of using every touchpoint you have to rally people for the cause. Employees need to be made to feel that they are collectively part of something that will change the course of history. Partners need to understand what you are doing and how they can help. And the more you can activate consumers and make this a joint journey with them, the better they will feel about you. We’ve been working with Vaccinaid to develop mechanics which will capture the imagination and help make the act of donation simple, memorable and impactful. And for those of you who are outside the UK or need a global campaign and mechanism, we work with GoGiveOne.

Get in touch, and we can find your way forward. We don’t have the luxury of time. This is the moment of action. We’re ready.

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