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Industrials are being hit hard by COVID-19 disruption, but commitment to sustainability will lead the sector to recovery.

Organizations have taken great leaps forward in relation to environment, social and governance matters (ESG) in the past decade. CEOs have signed up to a new holistic definition of company purpose, entire teams have been established to steward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and 75 percent of public companies now report on ESG goals.

But COVID-19 risks stalling progress. As the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global Industrial, Manufacturing and Transportation (IMT) sector, profit warnings and production shutdowns, supply chain disruption and depressed demand have created a uniquely challenging operating environment. In response, some regulators are relaxing enforcement of ESG standards and leadership concerned only with stabilizing company performance risk losing ground on sustainability commitments.

While some stakeholders may lower their expectations in relation to ESG in the immediate term, others are raising the bar. ESG considerations are increasingly influential in investment and purchasing decisions. Organizations also face additional pressure from their employees and customers to embed ESG practices and policies.

Our white paper, Sustainable Success: Exploring Environmental, Social and Governance Priorities for Industrials through COVID-19 and Beyond, explores sustainability through a COVID-19 lens — uncovering practical ESG considerations for recovery and beyond with insight from industry leaders and our experts.

“We believe that sustainability can be a lever of recovery and competitive advantage for the IMT sector, where companies proactively consider ESG issues as part of their COVID-19 response and decision-making . . . As well as offering efficiency and the ability to counter supply failures quickly, end-to-end transparency of the entire supply chain will be critical to oversight on ESG issues — demonstrating compliance with key regulation and reporting on duty of care obligations to relevant stakeholders,” said Anahita Thoms, global sustainability lead for Baker McKenzie’s IMT Group.