Throughout this extraordinary lockdown the private sector has either been called on or volunteered to support the national “war” effort against covid-19.
Despite most businesses being in their own battle to remain a going concern and hold onto jobs, a great many have still stepped up to the plate. Alcohol companies have rotated from vodka to hand sanitizer. Auto manufacturers have shifted from cars to ventilators. Fashion houses have weaved from high end clothes to medical gowns. The list goes on.
Meanwhile, asset managers have made huge financial donations to charities, and accountants have chosen to slash salaries rather than cut staff or take from the taxpayer funded national furloughing scheme.
Taken collectively, it has been an impressive display. Notwithstanding a few bad apples, it is clear that the majority of business leaders fully understand their obligations to employees, customers, the economy, climate and society. All the emphasis on promoting ESG over recent years is working – and critically when it matters most.
But one particular business contribution has really captured the imagination during this crisis. SalutetheNHS.org is a brilliant example of what the private sector can achieve if unleashed to work together and fast on something important.
Spearheaded by ex McLaren boss Ron Dennis CBE, the campaign aims to serve one million meals to the NHS frontline in three months. Everything needed to do this professionally and at scale – including establishing a production hub; finding food suppliers, a delivery partner and a contact centre; building a website; and, drafting all communications to get a call to arms out – took about 10 days from concept to roll out in the depths of this crisis.
Companies like Tesco, Yodel, Absolute Taste, Domestic & General, Hunter Design, Maitland/AMO and others have all offered resources and services for free to make this happen. Overseen remotely, these partners have now delivered over 100,000 meals across 22 hospitals in just four weeks. Soon they will be doing 15,000 meals per day.
The campaign has received praise from the Cabinet Office, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Sky News, and featured in The Sunday Telegraph. The positive momentum behind it has also attracted new FTSE 100 partners in Unilever and DS Smith, together providing 500,000 personal care products and 75,000 recyclable boxes, which will complement the meals already being delivered.
Supporting SaluetheNHS.org has been an intense piece of pro bono work for the Maitland/AMO team but we are delighted to be a part of such a valuable campaign, and at such an important time. While PR is not saving lives or making ventilators, this campaign shows how there is a still an important role to play for our industry during the very worst of national crises.
Please visit SalutetheNHS.org for more information and how to get involved.
Sam Turvey is a Partner at Maitland/AMO and has led the firm’s support for SalutetheNHS.org