In a joint statement , APG and other institutional investors urge companies to take what steps they can to mitigate the social impact of the corona crisis. The investors state that the health and safety of employees is the number one priority. However, companies should also try to prevent workers, suppliers and customers from being faced with insurmountable financial challenges.
The 195 investors – representing € 4.700 billion USD in assets under management – recognize that the corona crisis and the (near) shutdown of public life have huge impact all over the world. “Millions of working people are affected as the virus shuts down schools, employment and transportation. We know that vulnerable communities are the most strained, as they have limited access to social safety nets and financial resources to weather this uncertain periode”, according to the statement.
The statement asks companies to take responsibility and do their part to contribute to the protection of workers and other stakeholders. Specifically, they call upon companies to make emergency paid leave available to all employees, including temporary and flex workers. This will allow them to stay at home while retaining an income. In company locations that are still operational, measures should be taken to protect workers as much as possible, such as remote work and rotating shifts.
Retaining the workforce
While health and safety are the top priorities, companies should also acknowledge the financial impact of the crisis on employees, suppliers and customers. The investors ask companies to make every possible effort to retain workers, as widespread unemployment will only worsen the crisis. Retaining an experienced and well-trained workforce will also allow companies to resume operations quickly once the crisis is resolved. In addition, the investors encourage companies to ensure timely payment to suppliers and to work with customers facing financial challenges.
The investors emphasize it is crucial that companies demonstrate financial prudence. This may include the suspension of share buybacks and limiting executive and senior management compensation.