Business sustainability researchers provide insights, evidence-based solutions, and research suggestions for the Covid-19 pandemic and for other natural environmental disasters and stressors. We invite members of the RRBM community to reflect on the meaning of this pandemic and to contribute to this conversation. Contributions can be to provide literature-based insight on understanding the pandemic for individuals, societies and economies. Contributions also can be to suggest research ideas that may inform practices and policies by governments, businesses, non-profits, communities, and individuals to deal with natural and other disasters.

This forum brings together business researchers from multiple professional societies:

We are seeking commentary essays discussing: How your current/previous research can help to develop better understanding and solutions for the Covid-19 pandemic and/or more generally for other natural environmental disasters and stressors (750 words max, Word file, submissions to be addressed to Jorge Rivera).

What Business Professors Are Saying about COVID-19
Tima Bansal

Business professors from 53 schools around the world identify 6 priorities for companies in the COVID-19 era The day before our university closed down, my MBA students debated the price that the company that discovers the COVID-19 vaccine should charge. None of us expected the university to shut down indefinitely the next day. Two months…

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Sustainable Finance in Corona Times
Timo Busch & Sabine Döbeli

While we see exciting developments in sustainable finance – e.g., the increasing amounts of sustainable investments – the world is currently facing an unprecedented crisis. At the time of writing, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing the Covid-19-pandemic has resulted in global gridlock with untold health, economic and social effects. The real economy…

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Let’s also flatten the climate curve!
Christopher Wickert

Amidst the current Corona-crisis one chart gained massive popularity in social media. It is called “flatten the curve”, and relates the number of infections to the capacity of public healthcare systems to treat COVID-19 patients in a given period of time. Raising awareness about this simple but scientifically-grounded curve was critical for people to understand…

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Post COVID 19: Economic and Social Impact in India
K.V.Sriram

The cloud of uncertainty looms over the entire globe. Stock markets are in disarray, economy in doldrums and poor has become poorer. Covid 19, a term which did not make any sense just 4 months back has now become a buzz word. For a country which announced complete lockdown for 21 days from 24th March…

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The Return of the State
Mette Morsing

Society chooses its dead (Sartre, 1976)[1]   A pandemic could be the context where the world sets aside differences and globally agree on how to best navigate our societies through the crisis. A pandemic does not distinguish between geographies, gender, ethnicity, or religion. Global solidarity, collaboration across old boarders, and a collective flexible humanitarian response…

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Lifting the Mask of Materiality
Robert Sroufe

The Pandemic Calls for Integrated Solutions During this pandemic some businesses are doing better than others with how they are responding to and managing their social and financial performance. Ashim Paun, Co-Head for ESG Research at HSBC stated that “when crises like COVID-19 manifest, particularly with social and environmental causes and implications, investors can see…

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Exposure, Black Swans, and Real Options
Luis A. Perez-Batres & Len J Treviño

Society has been susceptible to man-made and natural catastrophic events since the beginning of time.  A few of the more notable natural disasters include the Antioch earthquake of AD 526, the 1881 Haiphong typhoon, and the more recent 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.[i] Man-made disasters include the great depression, the great credit crisis of…

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Covid, Culture, and Political-Economic Systems
Jonathan Doh

As we struggle with how best to combat COVID-19 in many parts of the world, stark differences have emerged in both the strategies and relative success rates of individual countries in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus. Remarkably, China and South Korea have successfully arrested the expansion of the virus, while others, including the…

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Covid19 and International Business: A Viewpoint
Ilan Alon

While the world might recover from the Wuhan, China-based 2020 novel coronavirus, it is likely that the virus will leave the world governance system in a different state.  Globalization as we knew it is over and a new world order will emerge, with dramatic consequences to our field. Globalization involves the movement of people, information,…

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What can the COVID-19 crisis teach us about the importance of geographical communities to enable human connection?
Wendy Smith & Natalie Slawinski

Currently, over 30% of the world’s population faces stay-at-home measures in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. While necessary to tackle this global pandemic, extended physical distancing is causing another global crisis as people face mounting social isolation, disconnection, loneliness, and depression. To make up for the loss of physical human connections,…

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The coronavirus crisis: A catalyst for entrepreneurship
Klaus Meyer, Karsten Lund Pedersen & Thomas Ritter

Throughout human history, crises have been pivotal in developing our societies. Pandemics have helped advance health-care systems, wars have fuelled technological innovations and the global financial crisis helped advance tech companies like Uber and Airbnb. The present coronavirus pandemic will arguably not be an exception; entrepreneurs can be expected to rise to the challenge. Businesses play a key role…

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Let Values Drive Your Board
Cynthia E. Clark

The corporate governance of firms and the role of the board of directors are at a crossroads. On the one hand, it has never been more vital to the workings of a business. On the other, it has never been more challenging. As boards grapple with new regulations about transparency and accountability, sustainability concerns, executive…

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COVID- 19, Could this be the ‘wake-up call’ that we need?
Shaista E. Khilji

Throughout the human history, societies have struggled with achieving and maintaining equality. However, it is the persistently rising levels of inequalities that have made the contemporary global society among the most unequal. Since industrial revolution, in order to make ‘progress’, we have focused on making systems efficient and acquiring material wealth. As a result, we…

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What Does “Flattening the Curve” Mean? Will It Also Flatten the Global Economy?
Farok J. Contractor

The Excruciating Choice Governments face an “excruciating choice” between “flattening the (coronavirus) curve” by imposing quarantines and lockdowns and the huge, unprecedented economic impact on the world economy that is already in recession. The Health and Human Services Department of the US Federal Government is planning for the possibility of an 18-month medical and economic…

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COVID-19 and philanthropy in Africa: a stitch in time?
Kenneth Amaeshi

Globally, there are concerted efforts by the private sector to find creative ways of contributing to tackling the pandemic. Some businesses are adapting their manufacturing systems to produce some of the essential materials and equipment required to combat the pandemic such as sanitisers, ventilators, testing kits, et cetera. Others, especially those in the biochemical and…

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The trade policy implications of COVID-19.
Louise Curran

As COVID-19 has spread across the world it has had major impacts on supply chains. While we don’t yet have reliable trade data for the beginning of this year, it is reasonable to assume that the impact on trade flows may be even greater than that for the GFC in 2009, where world trade fell…

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Is Authoritarian Response to Covid19 Superior?
Ilan Alon & Shaomin Li

From early December 2019 to March 2020, in merely more than three months, the World has witnessed an epic spreading and destruction of the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. The collapse of healthcare system and the economic consequences that follow have few modern equivalences. We are in a pivotal point of modern human history…

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COVID-19 crisis: A call for responsible leadership research
Anne S. Tsui

In times of crisis such as wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, or pandemics like the one we are experiencing now, leaders play an especially important role, since their decisions and actions may have life or death consequences. The coronavirus pandemic presents a critical challenge to leadership at all levels and in all organizations. How are leaders in…

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Are companies Coronawashing? Ten pieces of evidence
Vera Ferrón Vílchez

In the current global crisis, companies are carrying out solidarity initiatives: donating masks and medical supplies, putting their operational capacity at the service of health authorities, or financially contributing to research on the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19. As a consequence of these initiatives, several companies have an active presence in mass media,…

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The Socioecological Systems Framework, COVID-19 and Organizations
Pete Tashman

COVID-19 is certainly a massive ecological shock to humanity, and in the most dire scenarios, it could lead to collapsing social systems in vulnerably communities and polities. How will we as organizational scholars make sense of COVID-19 scenarios and the role that organizations play in driving them? In my view, the pandemic and other looming…

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Privacy In The Age Of A Pandemic.
Kirsten Martin

If we are going to end social distancing, we will need to find a way to know who has COVID-19 and where they are.  Temperature and symptom tracking, testing, and contact tracing are regularly mentioned as a part of long-term solutions.[1]  This is a lot of data about individuals that will be tracked and reported…

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Blood Banking in the Time of Corona
Juan L. Senga and Geoffrey A. Chua

COVID-19 has been overwhelming global health systems – filling up wards and ICUs, ripping through supplies and equipment, and testing the capabilities of health workers and front-liners. It is arguably one of the most life-altering events our world has seen in recent history. There is, however, a grimmer reality that we must face, a consequence…

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What is Essential?
Sarah Birrell Ivory

What is Essential? This is a question my family and I have asked many times in recent weeks, as Covid-19 forces us to reconsider both the meaning of that word, and the values that drive different people’s answers. Collectively, as a society, asking this question has led to us facing some fairly uncomfortable truths about…

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Why Don’t Businesses See This Coming?
Glen Dowell

As the Covid-19 threat started to hit home in the United States, I was just preparing to begin teaching my Strategies for Sustainability course.  I usually begin each class session with a broad question to prime the ensuing discussion; for that opening class I used two: (1) why do businesses need to address sustainability issues?…

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Using Scenario Planning to Prepare for Pandemics
Nardia Haigh

As you may know, some of my work surrounds scenario planning. Primarily, that work surrounds strategizing for climate change, but scenario planning is a versatile strategic planning method for navigating uncertainty. Others in this forum have provided excellent suggestions about what to do now. My focus is to help organizations come out of COVID-19 with…

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Resilience in Uncertain Times
Martina Linnenluecke

As many of you know, I research resilience, that is, the capacity of individuals, organisations and communities to recover from substantial adversity. In this essay, I offer some of my own experiences and observations, and hope that they can contribute to tackling major global challenges such as the Covid-19 health emergency and climate change. I…

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Coronavirus And Global Supply Chain Disruption: A Wake-Up Call For Climate Policy?
Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash

Coronavirus has slowed down economic activity and temporarily reduced China’s carbon emissions. However, there is a deeper implication for climate policy: decarbonization depends on global supply chains for inputs required for electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines. In 2015, solar and wind contributed to about 7% of global electricity.  Their salience is projected to increase…

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Learning to Carry the Cat by the Tail
What we know about business response to disasters and how that relates to the COVID-19 crisis
Jennifer Oetzel & Chang Hoon Oh

Is it possible for businesses to manage such a seemingly “unmanageable” problem as COVID-19? We have been researching multinational enterprises’ responses to natural disasters and political risks for two decades now and the answer is a qualified yes. A key finding of our research is that local knowledge (e.g, community or regional knowledge about available resources…

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The Covid-19 Pandemic, Paradox, and Sustainability
Tobias Hahn

First and foremost, the Covid-19 pandemic is a human tragedy. At the same time, it leads individuals, organizations, and states around the globe to adopt unprecedented measures at breathtaking speed. While all the attention is focused on the crisis, the situation is at the same time highly paradoxical. States such as the UK that have…

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Does the Coronavirus Offer Lessons for Climate Change?
Tima Bansal

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, and climate change are very different problems. But the global response to the coronavirus gives me hope that we can tackle other global threats.   It is hard to see the positive in the novel coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19. Not only has COVID-19 made people very sick, it has…

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Responding to slow onset disasters: the boiling frog syndrome
Jorge Rivera

  “And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic [human] invasion.”  Joseph Conrad, Hearth of Darkness, 1899     Hope & cooperation or fear & despair: how does humanity respond to…

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Climate change in the time of corona: That ’s so 2019…
Jonatan Pinkse

Social media extravaganza To stay productive these days I try not to spend too much time on social media…I’m failing miserably of course. On Twitter many people are worrying about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), blaming others for not doing enough to flatten the curve, or sharing videos of epic Zoom blunders. LinkedIn is used to praise…

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