Many of us are about to become non-essential workers

| 13 April 2020
Blog & Articles, Pandemic

 

We are sincerely concerned about unemployment.

There are multiple scenarios for coming out of the current crisis, but:
– we are roughly looking at double the output decline of the 2008 Great Financial Crisis.
– it took until 2015 for full employment to return to pre-crisis levels in the US (employment had started declining in 2007 so that’s a full eight years.)
– technology means fewer jobs are coming back.
– we should bear in mind the other consequences of unemployment and related inequalities (anxiety, mental health issues, prescription drug abuse, popular anger, etc.)

Many in the #ESG community are saying the “Social” dimension of ESG is now in full focus, but are they willing to entertain the economic trade-offs that social stability will require, all the more so in countries with social safety nets that are proving woefully inadequate at the moment? or do they believe that business-as-usual will get us through this shock and the others that follow?

The truth is that this scale of social issues will require more than corporate or sector level intervention or collective letters. We are looking at policy, economic balance of power and significant cultural changes. Can responsible investment rise to the occasion?

We are rightfully cheering for essential workers during the health crisis and lockdown measures. It’s not soon enough to start acting about the many who will remain – and the many who will become – non-essential workers in the aftermath.