With the world facing such an unprecedented situation – a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic – it isn’t surprising that the news can come across a bit ‘doom and gloom’. It’s the stark reality of the situation that we all must face.
But amongst the bleak are shining beacons of hope. Stories that remind us there is still good in the world and that such a situation can make us stronger. That people are giving back to society and generate social value during the coronavirus pandemic. Uplifting news that shows the best of humanity and that when push comes to shove, there are those that will willingly step up and do the right thing.
So to combat the negativity, we want to highlight the positivity in the world right now. Many are doing good things out of the kindness of their own heart which can only be described as a display of pure social value generation. These are just some of the businesses up and down the country (as well as across the globe) who are giving back to make things better in whatever way they can.
The current crisis has put a strain on the NHS and the supply of essential tools and products, namely personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser. Some businesses have changed tracks and are now using their resources to produce these much-needed items.
Gin distilleries across the UK have been producing hand sanitiser. Several distilleries in Wales took to the task and gave it away for free to the NHS, care homes, emergency service workers, and even postal workers. It was a similar story in Shropshire for Stonehouse Brewery and Henstone Distillery. And same again on the Isle of Man for Fynoderee Distillery who are using a WHO-approved recipe.
Meanwhile, over in Liverpool, a group of businesses sharing the DoES coworking space have come together to produce effective, low-cost visors. Their GoFundMe page has raised over £20,000 to help their cause. And a number of outdoor gear companies are making a range of masks, scrubs, and other necessary items for those who need them.
There’s no end to these kinds of stories; we haven’t even mentioned the hotels who opened their rooms to NHS staff and key workers. It just goes to show that you can still generate some true social value during the coronavirus pandemic, even when things are up in the air.
For some, it’s been business as usual – or as usual as it can be. They are essential businesses that need to keep the doors open for the good of us all. And they are giving back in whatever way they can. You have most likely heard of the supermarkets who earmark certain times for certain groups, such as Sainsbury’s who dedicated the first hour of the day for elderly and vulnerable customers. And Aldi rewarded their staff with a 10% bonus for working extra hard.
Some, such as Co-op and Lloyds Pharmacy, have been hiring new staff to make up for new demand, providing jobs to those who don’t have them anymore. McCarthy & Stone, the UK’s biggest builder of retirement properties, has offered more than 300 apartments to the government for people recovering from the virus.
For others, the lockdown has forced them to shut their doors indefinitely. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing the right thing. Timpson is keeping all 5,500 of its employees on full pay while they are furloughed.
And elsewhere, big-name tech entrepreneurs are putting their money where their mouth is. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey is donating $1 million to fund coronavirus research. He claims this is a massive 28% of his own personal wealth.
Making the difference
But, some of the biggest impact is coming from the general public. Heartwarming, uplifting stories show the best of what the UK has to offer. One of the hottest stories right now is that of veteran Captain Tom Moore, who was in the news for raising more than £25 million for the NHS. He set out to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the end of the month and the public responded in droves. He surpassed his JustGiving goal by more than 5,000 per cent and was the largest ever fundraiser on the platform!
Children making PPE. Hobbyists using their 3D printers to make life-saving equipment. People going out and making deliveries for their elderly neighbours. Local businesses helping the local community. Applause for our NHS and key workers. This situation has brought out the best in us.
All of these are perfect examples are of how to generate social value during the coronavirus pandemic – social value in its rawest and very best form. No academic definitions, no corporate measurements. This is what it is all about.
We don’t yet know when this lockdown will end, or when – and if – we will ever go back to a normal way of life. But in the midst of the unknown, there is a light; hope that things will get better. And it’s examples like the above that are giving us that hope and showing us that even when the situation looks bleak we can still do something to make an impact.
At Impact, we are huge supporters of anyone looking to make a difference. We work with companies who want to make the world a better place and help them organise their social value reporting so they can get on with doing the right thing. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch on 0161 532 4752.