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Companies provide considerable effort in response to COVID-19

Companies provide considerable effort in response to COVID-19

 March 24, 2020

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The global COVID-19 crisis means now is an uncertain time for everyone around the world, and it's imperative for communities to come together to protect each other.

As many people step up to support others, particularly the most vulnerable, companies are also committing services and resources to employees and the wider community in response to the outbreak.

We take a look at what some prime employers are doing to help alleviate the pressures being faced by governments, healthcare organizations and individuals.

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos provides open message to employees

Detailing part of Amazon's strategy for the coming months in response to the coronavirus, Amazon's CEO and addressing employee concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. His message summarizes some of the recent changes Amazon has made to adapt to the outbreak. Read the letter in full here.

Plus, read a summary of Amazon’s actions to help employees, communities, and customers affected by COVID-19 here - or see their previous briefing here.

Amazon supports children

Amazon is also supporting the wider community, including children who are out of school and parents who have to stay at home to care for and educate them. The company is providing free online STEM resources to students and communities. Amazon Future Engineer is offering free access to computer science courses for grades 6-12 in the U.S.

Plus, Amazon is working with charity partner Magic Breakfast to ensure continuity of provide free breakfast provision to children in schools across disadvantaged areas. For families looking for kid-friendly content while quarantined, Amazon Prime Video has made select shows free for Amazon customers.

Medtronic doubles capacity of ventilator production


Medtronic doubles its capacity to manufacture and supply ventilators in response to the urgent needs of patients and healthcare systems across the world. 

The company's ventilators, respiratory filters, oxygenation machines, pulse oximeters and further critical medical technologies are helping sustain life for patients with severe respiratory illness brought on by the virus.

Medtronic has taken steps to help address the global public health crisis by providing access to its products, supporting the needs of its healthcare partners, donating medical supplies and supporting NGOs, implementing employee remote work options and increasing safety measures, and offering resources and support for its employees.

"We are committed to making lifesaving products and our work must go on. We are focused now on keeping employees safe as we work to provide healthcare teams what they need to continue to treat patients around the world," says Medtronic.

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak spoke on CNBC's Squawk on the Street about ramping up ventilator production as the number of COVID-19 cases grows in the U.S.

The Medtronic Foundation announced an additional $10M in contributions to COVID-19 relief efforts across the globe. This adds to the initial charitable contributions made by Medtronic and the Medtronic Foundation of $1.2M in February to support immediate response efforts. In addition to financial contributions, the Medtronic Foundation is organizing virtual volunteer opportunities to help the more than 90,000 Medtronic employees globally support non-profit organizations that are responding to this global health crisis. The Medtronic Foundation also will continue to match Medtronic employee donations to nonprofit organizations. 

Avon donates hygiene products and addresses spike in domestic abuse

With a clear and escalating need for hygiene products during the coronavirus pandemic, Avon is donating 1.7 tons of personal hygiene products, including liquid soaps and shower gels, to quarantine centers in Bucharest in Romania to help reduce the effects of the coronavirus in the country. In addition to product donation, Avon also offers financial aid to support Romania's healthcare system.

In response to the growing demand for more readily available hygiene products, Avon UK is switching some of its manufacturing lines to create a new moisturising hand gel and anticipates 600,000 units to be available soon. A proportion of the products will be ring fenced for UK's NHS health system staff and domestic abuse service users and staff.  As a gesture of thanks to Representatives that are supporting their communities, Avon will gift every Representative free hand gel to help keep them and their family safe.

Additionally, Avon and Natura in Brazil have partnered with Usina São Martinho to provide 15,000 kilos of alcohol gel and 150,000 litres of alcohol in 70% sanitiser solution to the São Paulo State Health Department to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also announced, Avon Poland donates seven tonnes of hygiene products to emergency services.

Avon launched its Isolated Not Alone campaign to raise awareness of silent epidemic exacerbated by isolation during the global Covid-19 crisis. Part of this sees the Avon Foundation for Women announce USD 1 million commitment to front-line services to support women and children in need and at risk

With domestic violence sadly set to increase during the pandemic, front line organisations anticipate an increase in the need for their support services, at a time when funding for services is in danger. Avon has a long-standing commitment to help end violence against women and girls and during these unprecedented times Avon is helping to keep front line services open. In the UK, Avon is producing a new moisturising hand gel, and is donating £150,000 from the gel’s sales to national domestic abuse charity Refuge

AVON isolated-not-alone pledge campaign

Read more here.

Diageo donates hand sanitizer and supports hospitality

Meanwhile, Diageo pledges to enable the creation of more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser, by donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners, to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. The company donates up to two million litres of alcohol to hand sanitiser producers at zero cost, and will ensure it reaches the frontline as quickly as possible.

The plan includes provisions to the UK, Italy, USA, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, Kenya, India and Australia.

“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” comments Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”

Diageo brand Guinness is pledging £1,000,000 to support bartenders in the free trade across Great Britain. Thousands of bartenders will be able to benefit from the £1,000,000 fund intended for pubs and bars to put towards bartenders’ wages. Diageo is also supporting bartenders and the hospitality industry through additional funds in Ireland, North America, Spain and Portugal through Guinness and J&B.  

Diageo Guinness pledge

HCL Technologies launches Global Helpline for employees

Employee and customer health and well-being is of paramount importance at HCL Technologies. HCL supports its employees with both active measures and ongoing advice. For example, the company is maximizing remote working and is providing work-from home best practice guidance to support the wellbeing and productivity of employees. It has launched a dedicated Global Helpline in association with HCL Healthcare and an internal microsite for employees with the theme #TakeCareHCL.

"We understand that key to this fight against the virus, is the need for higher awareness and response. We are proactively invoking all required mitigation measures to ensure business continuity and are fully prepared to provide support to our clients and employees. In case there are any updates from the health authorities, we’ll be communicating and implementing it in the respective region right away," said HCL in a public statement.

Read HCL's further COVID-19 update.

Nottingham Trent University machines enable more tests 

Nottingham Trent

Nottingham Trent University has supplied three machines to help increase the number of tests for the virus using a technique of testing called Polymerase Chain Reaction.

Professor Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Whilst we’re busy supporting our staff and students in this unprecedented situation, we are also committed to support people beyond the university both locally and nationally. This equipment which is normally used by our researchers will be vital to the national response to COVID-19."

GSK supplies vaccine adjuvant technology to scientists

Using its science and expertise, GSK is supplying its vaccine adjuvant technology to scientists and organizations working on candidate vaccines.

An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone. The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people. 

“We are deeply committed to supporting the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. Using GSK science and technology, we are helping develop potential new vaccines and new medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19. We will also make our resources available to help scale the global response, whether that be through manufacture of a vaccine, laboratory space to conduct research or financial support to provide vital equipment to health workers," says GSK CEO Emma Walmsley,.

The EBRD provides financial aid and advice via €1 billion Solidarity Package

EBRD solidarity package - Sir Suma Chakrabait

Watch a video message from Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the EBRD. “The EBRD is standing with you in these very challenging times. We will be there to make sure that all our clients come through this crisis.”

The EBRD is working urgently across the regions where it invests to provide immediate support to companies impacted from the coronavirus pandemic.

The EBRD has unveiled an emergency €1 billion Solidarity Package of measures to help companies across its regions deal with the impact of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is an initial response to the crisis and the Bank stands ready to do more if and when needed.

In support of SMEs, particularly those run by women, the EBRD is using digital tools to provide critical advice on cash, liquidity and crisis management.

McDonald's makes 'Five Principles' promise

McDonald’s has implemented a raft of measures and CEO Chris Kempczinski shared a video message outlining five principles guiding the company's ongoing response to the pandemic: 

  1. We’re all in this together - colleagues need to have each-others backs, because that’s what makes the company strong.
  2. Think and act with a long-term mindset - keep focused on the day things will become normal again. "The decisions we do, or don’t make, in the coming weeks will reverberate for years," McDonald's states.
  3. Be transparent with each other and stakeholders - if any individual has a problem, everyone has a problem. McDonald’s leaders are to tell it like it is.
  4. Lead by example - McDonald’s will lead with its customers and people in mind. 
  5. Stay true to McDonald's purpose - fostering community is key. McDonald's System has almost 40,000 community touchpoints, where the company feeds and fosters the community it serves.

McDonald’s also donates 400,000 KF94 masks to the State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency for use by those who are helping to fight the pandemic from the front lines of the community.

F5 pledges to help #StopTheSpread 

F5 is a signatory of #StopTheSpread standing together with over 1,500 CEOs, executives and civic leaders committed to COVID-19 support and recovery. 

Through signing the pledge, F5 commits to making a significant financial commitment to assist COVID-19 support and recovery, with a primary focus on funding national healthcare needs.

This commitment also extends to supporting small business vendors, frontline workers, and local communities, particularly the most vulnerable, as well as supporting a program to offer training with US universities to help workers understand what they need to do in the crisis.

The above examples are just a few ways that Prime Employers are offering their support during this unprecedented time in global history.

We hope you, your colleagues and your loved ones remain safe in these challenging times.


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