Dozens of apparel and consumer goods manufacturers have shifted operations and enhanced charitable giving to support front-line healthcare workers around the world.
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Unilever announced it would extend €500m ($547m) of cashflow relief to suppliers and customers, by speeding up payment to small and medium-sized vendors, and offering credit to small retailers.
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Vans is supporting 80+ small businesses with proceeds from new line of custom shoes through their #FootTheBill project.
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Ferrari is building the “Back on Track” app to help protect workers and their families. Working with virologists and government experts, the app is intended to provide a screening process in line with the Italian government’s health protocol.
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GivingTuesday.org reinvented its traditional one day of giving during peak shopping season into a movement for global unity measured by individual acts of kindness and charity. #GivingTuesdayNow is a weekly encouragement of “countless acts of generosity”—including kids helping parents and people helping communities and neighbors helping neighbors.
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The four largest supermarket chains in the UK—Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Asda—are stepping forward to serve vulnerable people (with priority shopping hours), healthcare workers (with pop-up shops near hospitals), employee safety and recruitment, supply chain stability, and even dampen panic buying and hoarding.
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AlixAlumnus and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles executive Thomas Sedran shares the step-by-step return to production—from shutdown to restart—at the company’s plant in Hanover, DE. The VW “100-point plan” for employee safety and safeguards for the supply chain was used to reopen plants around the globe starting in early April.
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The LEGO Group has modified some of its molding machines to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), producing more than 13,000 face visors per day. LEGO has also donated more than half a million toy sets to children in need.
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MED TECH (VENTILATORS)
Global medical equipment firms have formed an unprecedented collaboration to build an app to enable medical workers to access a centralized training resource. Participants include Drager, GE Healthcare, Getinge, Hamilton Medical, Medtronic, Nihon Kohden and Philips, with app maker Allegro.
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AUTOMOTIVE & BIOTECH
Ford Motor Company is re-tooling manufacturing with plans to make reusable gowns from airbag materials, as well as through several partnerships, including one with scientific instrument provider Thermo-Fisher Scientific to ramp up production of COVID-19 testing kits.
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F&B Sustainable Manufacturing
New York-based Air Company, which launched a carbon-negative vodka last year, may be the first sustainable manufacturing example of alcohol producers shifting to the production of hand-sanitizer. The firm’s process captures CO2 pollution, combines it with water to make alcohol, and then distills the final product using solar-powered equipment. Air Co said that it would donate all the sanitizer it makes to local organizations in need.
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Two wearables makers are adapting technology to identify social distancing violations. A wearable tag from Triax Technologies is being tested by US-based Gilbane, Inc. for worker safety on its construction sites. In Belgium, the Port of Antwerp is testing a sports-watch-sized wearable made by Rombitto help workers keep a required distance apart.
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155 major companies, representing more than 5 million employees, have joined to urge governments around the world to keep climate change front of mind during COVID-19 recovery and economic stimulus efforts. All are part of the Science Based Targets Initiative.
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Grocery & Drugstore Retailer
Grocery and drugstore giant Kroger Co. has hired 100,000 employees in the first two months of the pandemic. To do so, the company created an expedited hiring and training process that enabled it to onboard a typical new hire within 72 hours of receiving their application. New hires included thousands of people laid off from sectors pummeled by the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy, including food service, restaurants, and hotels.
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