Here are three green trends that will reshape the post-Coronavirus economy.
This third of the there part series addresses the sustainability as related to post pandemic recovery. Please find Part one: The Coronavirus Shock Wave and Part two: Brace Yourself for the Coronavirus Shock Wave Impact.
Survival is job one for all businesses in today’s Coronavirus crisis. Sales are down from customer self-isolation. Production is threatened as work associate availability and productivity are impaired. The business question is how to cut costs without destroying the ability to restart when the quarantine is lifted. The challenge is how to sell to customers isolated in their homes.
The immediacy of this crisis will slow as self-isolation flattens the curve. But it will not be resolved until there is a national vaccine inoculation. Based on current estimates, by summer 2021 America should be fully back up and running.
It will not be business as usual any more than it was after the 9/11 or the Great Recession. This time, sustainability must be a cornerstone of each business’s post-Coronavirus strategy.
Here are three green trends that will reshape the post-Coronavirus economy:
1. Green Supply Chain
Green supply chains are healthy supply chains. They have measurable health performance targets for humans and the planet that are authenticated by credible third-party audits.
Post-Coronavirus green supply chains are likely to challenge host countries to demonstrate an ability to support health systems that are transparent, authentic, and effective. Individual supply companies will be judged on their work associates’ health care provisions and protections. At a minimum, future supply chain contracts will mandate viral crisis plans.
The Coronavirus puts a bright light on the need for businesses to ramp up their climate change initiatives. Climate change will be more devastating than this pandemic. It will disruptively increase businesses’ exposure to extreme weather and commodity/supply chain breakdowns. It will disrupt work associate availabilities and transportation logistics. Consumers will increasingly weigh a company’s values in what to buy and who to buy from.
As a result, this Coronavirus may accelerate the adoption of supply chain contracts penalties based on a country’s reliance on coal-fired electricity generation. Similarly, driven by consumer values aspirations, supply chain contracts may assign economic penalties to bids based on a product’s life-cycle, cradle-to-cradle, waste streams.
Assuming we are entering a Coronavirus recession, then business cost cutting will take center stage. This will open the door to increased business interest in cleantech.
Energy efficiency is often the lowest hanging fruit for cutting business costs. Cleantech has made it even more so. High efficiency lighting like LEDs have dramatically fallen in price. They reduce electricity costs. They reduce space conditioning costs because they emit no heat. Their product life can extend to a decade or more, dramatically cutting maintenance and replacement costs.
Smart devices are cleantech devices. Smart power strips ensure that electrical devices like computers and printers are turned off when not in use. Smart thermostats ensure both comfort and energy savings. Smart building load control systems can cycle air conditioning units to minimize utility peak kilowatt demand charges.
Solar power, especially combined with battery systems, can slash electric bills where allowed by the local electric utility.
Most important, in this business cash flow crisis, companies can finance cleantech investments with zero down and guaranteed savings. Look into the PACE program that is increasingly being adopted by cities to find such opportunities. Also talk to vendors who often have their own private sources of financing.
Authenticity is the foundation of green business best practices. Now is the time to win customers who more than ever are searching for both value and values in what they buy and who they buy from.
America roots for those with positive attitudes. Give customers a reason to root for you! It is easy to smile when sales are pouring in. It is business leadership to smile into the face of a crisis.
America roots for the little guy. This Coronavirus is as deadly to small businesses as it is to individuals. Social media is increasingly being populated with customers posting about how good they feel because they shopped at a local business. Help customers buy from you with healthy sales promotions featuring free delivery or curb side pick-up.
America celebrates our front-line workers. Your business should, too. Highlight their dedication into your business brand messaging. And, if at all possible, bump up their pay to at least $15 per hour. They are risking their health to ensure that customers are served and America’s economy survives. They won’t forget your commitment. They will make sure your customers know about it. And that is the most authentic promotion any business can receive.