At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic I wrote about collective action being the key to getting us through this global pandemic and used words like unprecedented, unparalleled and exceptional.
Yes, we have come together en masse to make sense of what’s happening in our world and in the realm of responsible and ethical supply chains old and new like-minded relationships have grown out of the initial chaos.
Now however we awake from the haze of our digital bunkers and virtual think tanks to the fall-out and impact on lives dependent on the maze of how we buy and source goods for our consumer addiction. It may feel like we only have sticky tape to hand to mend the cracks but before we get to all the gushing recovery & resilience narrative – is it time to hit pause to consider the future? To recast vision that meets the needs of today and a post-pandemic world?
My pause button was pressed yesterday as I read the ILO policy brief, The World of Workand COVID-19 (June 2020) which stated, “By mid-May 94 percent of the world’s workers were living in countries with some type of workplace closure measures in place. Massive losses in working hours which are equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs are predicted for the 2nd quarter 2020, while 38 percent of the workforce – some 1.25 billion workers – is employed in high-risk sectors.”
The reports’ recommendations for recovery are three-fold
- Immediate support for at-risk workers, enterprises, jobs, and incomes, to avoid closures, job losses and income decline.
- Greater focus on both health and economic activity after lockdowns ease, with workplaces that are safe, and rights for all.
- Mobilization now for a human-centred, green, sustainable, and inclusive recovery that harnesses the potential of new technologies to create decent jobs for all and takes advantage of the creative and positive ways companies and workers have adapted to these times.
Recommendation number 3 caught my attention as Wednesday 24 June 2020 is the ITUC’s global day to mobilize activity to “climate and employment proof our work” (CEPOW). It is a day set aside for us all to have conversations about climate change, environmental sustainability, and jobs.
The CEPOW website has a wealth of resources and full guidance on why jobs and climate matters and details on how to get the conversation started.
At ETI we had our initial conversation last week and were pleased to have the ITUC climate change policy officer, Bert de Wel, present to our members. The sobering moment came from hearing the reality of drought and the impact on industry presented by Dr Rick de Satgé: Phuhlisani NPC.
We can all step aside from the BIG recovery narrative, pause for thought and start a conversation on what a green, sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic world might look like.