Bonner Querschnitte 27/2020 Ausgabe 645 (eng)


EXTRACT Global Business Call: How business responds to COVID-19

(Bonn, 24.04.2020) In a recent Global Business Call, more than 50 experts from around the globe joined in to listen and share about both challenges but also opportunities for businesses due to the corona crisis.

Rev. Timo Plutschinski (Hamburg), Director of the World Evangelical Alliance’s Business Coalition, initiated and chaired this extraordinary online gathering which was a promising start of a Business Working Group as part of the WEA COVID-19 Task Force.

Rev. Timo Plutschinski © privatDr. David Boan © privatReuben Coulter © privat

This task force is led by Dr. David Boan (Boise Idaho), Director of the WEA Relief & Development Department, who claimed that the guidelines for controlling the spread of COVID-19 do not work in the majority of countries with impoverished communities. This is not just a health crisis but it is becoming an economic crisis for which there is no quick fix. Especially in the global South there will be much more economic disruption and the recovery of the business community will be much more difficult.

In terms of current businesses Reuben Coulter (Nairobi), the CEO of the Transformational Business Network, separates these into three types of companies:

1. Businesses that will thrive
2. Businesses that will ride out the storm
3. Businesses that will be massively affected

He therefore raised the question how we may create an Emergency Investment Fund to support businesses and help them ride out the storm and emerge stronger from the crisis.

Chuck Bentley © privatMatthias Böhning © privatMissy Wallace © privat

Also for current business owners, Chuck Bentley (Knoxville), Chairman of the Christian Economic Forum, has three pieces of advise:

1. Forecast for the worst-case scenario for the short term
2. Over-communicate to everybody (board, investors, clients, customers, etc.)
3. Search for the opportunity to grow your business

Due to his expertise with sustainability and disaster risk reductions, Matthias Böhning (Bonn), WEA Representative to the United Nations, asked significantly: “What can we learn from the humanitarian field that can be applied to the business sector?” and emphasized the catchy claim “Building back better”. That means that a catastrophe reveals the best and worst within your team, your business and your whole set-up and could create a cleaning and re-vitalizing effect.

Missy Wallace (New York), Vice President of the Global Faith & Work Initiative, has been thinking through the work disruption that COVID-19 is causing and how the spiritual needs as an individual, organization, industry etc. might differ and if there is any pattern to that. This has led to the creation of the Work Disruption Model.

You can find the link to the full presentation below.

Athena Peralta © privatIn terms of the role of business Athena Peralta (Geneva), Programme Executive for Economic and Ecological Justice at the World Council of Churches, has claimed that “the business of business is service”. Businesses should be serving customers, employees, society at large but also all creation. As we are now confronted with this global emergency of COVID-19, we need a response that looks to the future. Our Christian faith challenges us to have a long-term perspective rooted in hope even when trying to respond to immediate emergencies in front of us.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Stueckelberger © privatProf. Dr. Dr. Christoph Stueckelberger (Zurich), Executive Director of the Geneva Agape Foundation, has also looked into the future raising the question whether we have a Christian answer on the debt crisis. One trillion will be needed just for debt cancellation in developing countries alone. How can we address the government? Can we do something as organizations?

Online platform

It has been an inspiring, broad-ranged and thoughtful debate covering many aspects of a global issue. All kind of resources regarding “How Business responds to COVID-19” will gradually be collected on this online platform.


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