ESG in the world of the coronavirus


As we gradually come to terms with the devastating impact of the novel coronavirus, our hearts go out to the countless families who have lost loved ones and our fellow human beings who have lost their livelihoods and the security of knowing where their next income and meal will come from. From grandparents to neighbors, health care to agriculture, across our country and virtually every other, this tragedy has left no part of our social fabric untouched.

Whether and how it recovers is now in all of our hands.

At FrameworkESG, we have been fortunate so far. We had to make the difficult decision to eliminate two staff positions, losing cherished colleagues as we adjusted to revised projections for the coming months. And we’ve seen one of our office spaces close, taking with it a collaboration hub for social entrepreneurs that will be much missed in Seattle. But we count our blessings in being able to continue our work relatively seamlessly thanks to the continued loyalty and perseverance of our clients and the adaptability of our people.

While these times are far from business as usual, and little is clear about the turbulent days yet ahead, there are a few things we do know. One is that the work of creating sustainable organizations and societies will only grow in importance as we navigate this crisis and its aftermath.

New dialogues are emerging that will reshape the landscape in which we operate. Dialogues about our deeply symbiotic relationship with the rest of the natural world, the speed with which that balance can be disrupted, and the cost of that disruption. About the critical value to our survival of data and evidence. About whether and how our social contract regarding health and other essential services might be reconsidered. About how we value different types of work. About the appropriate levels of reliance on traditional labor and new technologies. About changes to the regulatory landscape. And about what we can learn for our future preparedness and agility.

The mission we have undertaken together has always been, at its core, about thriving by building strategies for resilience, trustworthiness, and cooperation. Today, organizations’ priorities are necessarily immediate, focused on stabilizing operations. But the road ahead will soon traverse terrain for which environmental, social, and governance (ESG) leaders have been preparing more assiduously than most. Indeed, for which we as a firm exist.

We deeply believe ESG leaders are essential to the new solutions, and we hope that you make your voices heard as your organizations engage such questions as:

  • What is the corporation’s role in our rapidly changing civic life?
  • How do we address the heightened needs of our employees, customers, communities, suppliers, and investors—and in what order?
  • How must organizational culture evolve to remain effective, compassionate, and responsive to the rapidly changing needs of the marketplace?
  • What new forms of collaboration are essential in our new circumstances?
  • What is most material now, and how must our definitions of trust and risk shift?
  • How might our disclosures and metrics best reflect our recent choices and changing strategies?

The answers aren’t simple. But they’re ones we’ll be untangling together in the months—and very likely years—to come. And the urgency with which they’ll be needed argues that the way in which ESG issues are understood, valued, and addressed is entering a new era.

We’ll be focusing on sharing the knowledge and solutions we are uncovering with you. And we’ll be learning from your discoveries as well.

Wishing you, your family, and your teams safety, clarity, and comfort in these difficult days.

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FrameworkESG Staff

FrameworkESG Staff