Sustainability Practices Improve Business Resilience During Crisis - Survey Results

As many as 76% of companies surveyed on how they’ve been impacted by COVID-19 say that sustainability has “somewhat” or “definitely” increased their resilience during the pandemic, according to our survey. 

This was true for all the companies surveyed regardless of where they are based, mainly English- and French-speaking countries as well as Germany, Italy and Spain.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still far from over and it’s difficult to have sufficient hindsight to carry out in-depth studies on its full impact on business. However,  these initial responses supported by the input we receive from companies we work with on a daily basis are very optimistic when it comes to the impact sustainability practices have on business resilience.   

And how exactly have sustainability practices helped? What particular practices have had the greatest impact? And what actions did these companies take when new health and safety regulations were implemented?

Generally speaking, companies were able to face the crisis thanks to their responsiveness and ability to adapt. But we have to bear in mind that the companies that were able to respond to the survey were the ones that remained operational, at least to some extent. Companies that had to close down entirely wouldn’t have been able to respond. 

Among the companies that responded to the survey were those who had no choice but to continue production and for whom the main challenge was to ensure business continuity without putting the health of their employees and partners in danger. They focused on raising hygiene awareness and ensuring all the protective equipment was in place. 

“We were deemed to be an essential company so we did not shut down. For the health and safety of all our employees, we've implemented increased safety and sanitation practices due to COVID-19, such as requiring temperature checks, hand washing and wearing of masks for anyone entering our facilities. We also implemented regular sanitation of all public areas three times per shift and implemented social distancing on our production lines, break rooms, and locker rooms.”

Then there were the companies that carry out “non-essential” activities and for which remote working was recommended. For some it proved more challenging than for others and much depended on the extent to which they were prepared for this kind of work, had remote working policies in place, etc. 

"We had to organize teleworking with employees (Home-Office) and customers. We had to put in place the right tools and processes. This has led to a drastic reduction in travel and therefore in CO2 emissions, and will perhaps make it possible to imagine a different "after".” Provider of mobility solutions for the rail sector  

"Commercial conquest complicated, if not impossible to achieve. Reassuring our employees, making sure they are doing well without seeing them as easy. We have to decipher on the phone. Maintain our CSR principles in our supplies of security equipment to fight against the virus (but we succeeded!)" Management Consulting Firm  

"We were prepared for this crisis and our employees were quickly able to accompany our customers 100% from their homes. Our corporate clients were able to continue to benefit from our full range of services." Insurance company specializing in health insurance  

The main challenge for these companies, met by the implementation of telework, is that of continuity of exchanges with their customers and other stakeholders. Being able to adapt in times of crisis is essential to inspire confidence in everyone. 

Some of these companies are also having to reinvent their offer, particularly those specializing in events. Indeed, companies in this sector need to appropriate the digital sphere.


About the Author

EcoVadis EN

EcoVadis is a purpose-driven company whose mission is to provide the world's most trusted business sustainability ratings. Businesses of all sizes rely on EcoVadis’ expert intelligence and evidence-based ratings to manage risk and compliance, drive decarbonization, and improve the sustainability performance of their business and value chain. Its AI-powered risk mapping, actionable scorecards, benchmarks, carbon action tools, and insights guide a resilience and improvement journey for environmental, social and ethical practices across 200 industry categories and 175 countries.

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