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TWO years ago, video conferencing was a tool used by only a few. Company officials preferred meetings in person even if it meant travelling abroad to seal a deal, or go through lengthy negotiations.
Staff meetings were mostly in the office, and face-to-face. Today, almost all of that is conducted online.
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Despite a partial return to normalcy as we know it, video conferencing does look like it is here to stay. It has proven to be an effective and cheap means of communication.
But what the Covid-19 pandemic brought was to force organisations to adapt to changes. It has been a litmus test of resilience. Companies are facing not only changes in the way they conduct day-to-day business but also how they face an economic crisis.
Consumer behaviour has changed and so too has the mindset of investors and stakeholders. For some time now, investors have been opting to put their money into companies with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.
A huge amount of money is going into ESG-related funds. According to S&P Global, in 2020, ESG funds in the United States reached US$51bil (RM212.64bil) in assets under management, doubling from 2019 and a 10-fold jump from 2018.Key issues: A man works at a construction site in Seremban. The pandemic, coupled with recent ‘climate disasters’, has exacerbated social challenges such as rising inequality, growing human rights abuses in supply chains and collapsing social safety nets. — Bernama
It is expected that ESG funds globally would surge to US$53 trillion (RM220.98 trillion) by 2035.
“Companies are taking matters surrounding ESG and digitalisation more seriously based on the recognition of the risk of fading into oblivion if they fail to be forward-looking in their approach,” says KPMG Malaysia head of sustainability Kasturi Nathan.
She points out that economic disruptions during the ongoing pandemic have brought to light the urgency towards more sustainable consumption and production life cycles.
“We’ve seen how companies are pushed to the limits of operational viability when they continue to utilise scarce and non-renewable resources, prioritise sales of new products, and fail to collaborate, innovate or adapt.
“In contrast, a company with a sustainable or circular economy mindset will be well insulated from value chain disruptions because it will have engineered a way to extract limitless value from its resources,” Kasturi adds.