The Covid-19 crisis could accelerate acts of social responsibility by companies – such as pharmaceutical firms distributing vaccines at cost price - analysts at fund manager Fidelity International believe.
The survey of 145 analysts globally showed a wider move towards “stakeholder capitalism” is expected with a “profound” impact on how companies’ tackle social issues.
More than half of the fund manager’s analysts believe companies will increase their focus on workers and the wider community as a direct result of the pandemic, although how persistent the post-virus changes prove to be, and whether additional costs will depress margins, “will emerge in the months to come”.
Many examples of stakeholder capitalism are emerging, the firm said, including telecoms companies offering free data or devices to people in vulnerable demographic groups, and consumer-staples firms increasing their involvement in public hygiene initiatives.
Fiona O’Neill, deputy head of equity research at Fidelity, said: “The health of staff has been at the forefront of company managements’ minds, and our analysts from just about every region and sector confirm that companies will devote more attention to employees’ safety and wellbeing in the future. But the changes will be deeper and broader than just that.”
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