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Quick Takes

Public Trust in US Corporations Increased During the COVID-19 Crisis

Source: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals

The American public has been responding favorably toward corporations since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. According to a new Axios/Harris poll, 75% of respondents believe that companies were more reliable than the federal government during the lockdown. 

The health and grocery industries saw the highest approval rating among consumers — at 47% and 35% respectively — while both the media (-5%) and airlines (-7%) industries scored the lowest. Respondents rated the top 100 companies across seven qualities: affinity and trust, citizenship, ethics, culture, vision, growth and products and services. The poll weighted affinity as the highest compared to all other categories. 

Companies that focused on using their resources and platform to solve problems related to COVID-19, like pharmacies, streaming services and packaged goods, gained the most trust from consumers. The results also showed that consumers have higher trust in companies that address societal issues. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, this will most likely be a long-term trend beyond the pandemic.

Which Cities Are Equipped to Lead in the New Normal?

Source: Oliver Wyman Forum

Singapore once again tops Oliver Wyman’s 2020 Urban Mobility Readiness Index. This sovereign island city-state in Southeast Asia invested in one of the world’s first automated rail systems as a leader in forward-looking traffic management. 

European cities also dominate the index’s top 10, as most have easily accessible, highly sanitized and safe transportation. These qualities make these cities more resilient to handle future disruptions, like the pandemic. Oliver Wyman based its city ranking this year on infrastructure, innovation and focus on preparedness. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to consider relocating as many jobs turned into permanently remote roles. Oliver Wyman found that for cities to flourish in the post-COVID world, they will need a holistic and forward-looking mobility plan. “Many cities around the world were at a tipping point, even before COVID and while we won’t know the true impact on cities yet, the cities that ranked high are in a better position to meet future challenges,” said Guillaume Thibault, one of the creators of the index.

What Is Contributing to Western Europe’s New Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

Source: Oliver Wyman

Note: Graphs show actual cases from January 22-Oct 6 and projections through October 27

Western Europe is experiencing a second spike in COVID-19 cases, especially in Spain and France. Testing improvements have allowed most Western European countries to catch a greater proportion of COVID-19 cases in mid-September compared to mid-April — however, this is not the case for all countries.

Travel and tourism contributed to some of these late-summer outbreaks. For instance, in Germany, nearly 40% of new infections were brought back by returning vacationers. Additionally, some groups of younger people have neglected to follow social distancing measures: 15- to 24-year-olds now represent 15% of new cases in the EU, a rate three times higher than recorded in April. Quarantine fatigue is also taking a toll, as increasing disillusionment with regulations is resulting in subsequent declines in social distancing.

To avoid broad lockdowns and business restrictions, governments are focusing on alternative prevention measures, such as mask mandates, targeted business closures and travel screenings for those returning from high-risk areas.

Health Care Companies Respond Most Effectively During COVID-19

Health care companies have responded most effectively to stakeholder needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 68% of stakeholders surveyed. Fifty-one percent of respondents say technology and communications companies responded best, followed by food and consumer goods companies, according to a recent study called A Test of Corporate Purpose

Eight in 10 stakeholders in the study also believe that companies with a strong corporate purpose are better equipped to respond effectively and authentically to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter events. “You don’t turn into a resilient company, a strong server of stakeholders overnight. That’s something you become over time with quite a lot of deliberate effort,” said Sara Murphy, head of research for TCP, to BRINK.

The Euro Dominates Global Sustainable Finance

Source: European Central Bank

The euro accounts for nearly half of sustainable capital market finances across the world, according to the World Economic Forum. The United States dollar accounts for 25% of sustainable finances, while a collection of other currencies make up the remaining 29%.

The European Commission states that its Green Deal can make the EU’s economy sustainable by “turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities and making the transition just and inclusive for all.” The COVID-19 pandemic presented such a challenge, and according to WEF, pandemic-related investments will also work in service of creating a “climate-neutral economy,” a goal it set to achieve by 2050. 

Investors are taking note, as the European Green Deal Investment Plan, introduced in January 2020, expects sustainable investment worth a minimum of a trillion euros from public and private sources to fund the region’s transition to a climate-neutral status.

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