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Will Covid-19 halt environmental action to tackle climate change?

Major international players such as the World Economic Forum and BlackRock have analysed the Covid-19 crisis and predict radical changes for the future. Once the pandemic crisis abates, however, the WEF feels countries must intensify environmental action to tackle climate change and BlackRock will continue to push climate change to the center of its investment process.

Future Citizen Institute previously reported on next year’s theme at the World Economic Forum, namely The Great Reset. The WEF, among many other organisations that feel Covid-19 offers a momentum for radical change in the form of a reset, has noted that while governments and business are grappling with the effects of Covid-19, other global challenges remain. The key priority once the pandemic crisis abates, according to the WEF, is that countries must intensify environmental action to tackle climate change.

In that connection, the start of the pandemic early this year coincided with what Bloomberg has called a “big, green bombshell”. This bombshell was dropped by Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock, in a letter to corporate executives in which he wrote that BlackRock – the world’s largest asset manager overseeing a total amount of $6.5 trillion – would push climate change to the center of its investment process. Fink told businesses to prepare for a “fundamental reshaping of finance”, but Bloomberg identifies some obstacles in the form of CEOs and investors who are scrambling just to survive the economic fallout from the corona pandemic.

The Covid-19 crisis was also discussed during the BlackRock Future Forum held last month. Some of the conclusions from the Forum, as described in a report, are that the pandemic will change the future of globalism and work. As for globalism, the participants concluded that it is not dead, but it is evolving. In particular, they feel society is frustrated with government and is looking for large, multinational corporations to play a bigger role. With the Covid-19 crisis being particularly hard for SMEs and less so for large companies that are bailed out, this prediction has certainly held true in recent months.

As for work, the participants expect to see virtual reality rapidly moving from where it is today – primarily in the gaming world – into more and more business applications. The notion of a physically enclosed enterprise is over, they feel, and corporations will need to allow employees to work from anywhere: “while it may be counterintuitive, companies that are managing the transition to remote work effectively may find themselves in a stronger position to innovate than they were in a traditional work environment. When employees are virtually entering their colleagues’ homes every time they have a meeting, it can create a stronger sense of community, which is key to driving innovation”.

Author: Olivier Vonk

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