Dear SustainAbility Community —

The rapidly escalating and disruptive events stemming from the spread of COVID-19 remind us of previous periods of uncertainty, such as 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis. But we are all left scrambling to determine what from our past experience and knowledge will help now. The ways in which our world will change during and after this pandemic are only beginning to reveal themselves. For all the uncertainty of the moment, what we know is that human resilience is remarkable.

This resilience is manifesting in both innovation and kindness as people search for solutions to the pandemic and support one another during it. While the medical and other essential workers on the front lines deserve most accolades, in the business world we are heartened by specific actions companies are taking, such as sourcing protective masks and repurposing manufacturing plants, and by the broader advocacy of private sector leaders such as International Chamber of Commerce Chair Paul Polman about how governments should respond and how this moment is an acid test for business. At a human level, people are responding to social distancing with small acts like uplifting opera from balconies and comforting poetry. We are moved by how citizens and businesses have found ways to support and serve one another.

Most of you know that SustainAbility was acquired by ERM in January of 2019. We feel especially fortunate to be an ERM Group company now given the organization’s unique experience and expertise on health and safety. For that reason, we have crafted this note jointly with an ERM colleague: Valery Kucherov, ERM’s Global Leader Safety & Risk Services. We want to highlight ERM’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which we hope will be useful input as your organizations frame your own plans and actions, and that it might lead some of us to find ways to collaborate.

Please be in touch with any thoughts and questions if you choose. Otherwise, stay safe, and take care of yourself, your families, communities and colleagues.

Mark Lee, Executive Director, SustainAbility and Partner, ERM
Valery Kucherov, Global Leader Safety & Risk Services and Partner, ERM