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Walking the Talk
Pandemic Sees Brand Leaders Putting Purpose Before Profit

While the government stalls under pressure to provide necessary aid to the millions affected by COVID-19, a silver lining to this pandemic is being revealed as more and more businesses exemplify efforts to put people before profit.

Businesses large and small have stepped up to help their employees, customers and broader communities in which they operate. Here are a few examples of purpose in action, from our very own Corporate Member Network and Brands for Good Founding Partners

Campbell’s Soup Company is donating $1 million in cash and food to food banks in the communities in which it operates, and dedicating production runs to assist local food banks until the pandemic subsides.

Cisco is dedicating $225 million in cash and services to support various causes dedicated to combating the spread of the coronavirus and helping those affected.

CVS plans to hire 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers that have been furloughed during the pandemic — and it has decided to tap directly into its customers’ workforces by taking on displaced workers from the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains. 

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Ford Motor Company and 3M have partnered to build much-needed Powered Air-Purifying Respirators, including a new design that employs existing parts from both companies (including the Ford F-150 truck’s cooled seating, and 3M’s HEPA filters) to increase efficiency and scalability. Ford has also designed a new face shield (to be tested this week in Detroit-area hospitals), and will also work with GE on expanding production capacity for GE Healthcare’s ventilator, with a simplified design that should allow for higher-volume production.

Johnson & Johnson donated one million masks, as well as goggles, protective suits, thermometers, respirators, contact lenses and sanitary personal care products to healthcare providers across China during the peak of the outbreak there.

Image credit: Johnson & Johnson

Nestlė partnered with Freshly to donate $500,000 to Meals on Wheels, to support elderly communities amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Image credit: Meals on Wheels

Panera, PepsiCo and Visa put their social media weight behind the Great American Takeout” campaign, asking consumers to order to-go meals this Tuesday (March 24) to support the ailing restaurant industry — because, as one Door Dash ad for the initiative pointed out, “even though tables are empty, the kitchens are full.” (Hopefully, efforts like that will continue!)

Target announced investment of more than $300 million in added wages; along with a new paid leave program, bonus payouts and relief fund contributions for its staffers working hard to keep shelves stocked.

Unilever is providing €100 million worth in free soap, sanitizer, bleach and food; and offering €500 million of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain. In addition, Unilever is also protecting its workforce from sudden drops in pay for the next three months. 

This is not business as usual — and what that ends up looking like may not be evident for some time. But where there is fear and uncertainty, there is also room for opportunity. With no clear vision of when life will get back to ‘normal,’ the pressure is on for businesses to innovate faster and offer new forms of value to its stakeholders. And the brands that step up to meet the challenge during this crisis are the ones that will prevail after this is all over.