Working towards sustainable value creation
Last year, I wrote that environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are core premises for our business and investment decisions. The last twelve months put that statement to the test.
The pandemic swept over us at the beginning of the year and sparked economic devastation for businesses and communities alike, leading to the greatest recession since World War II. A microscopic organism held a mirror to many of our societies’ problems and brought on a collective wakeup call for decision-makers around the globe. Aker is exposed to industries that have been hit especially hard.
Responding quickly with extraordinary measures
As the virus spread and oil demand and prices plummeted, extraordinarymeasures were quickly implemented across our portfolio companies. I am deeply impressed with the collaborative efforts to protect our workforce and adapt to a new normal. Management teams regrouped to respond around the clock to one of the gravest disruptions in recent memoryand employees put in a tremendous effort to adapt to uncertainty, working from home, social distancing, and isolation. Today, many experts are increasingly raising concerns over the potential long-term impact on mental health – problems that could far outlast the virus – and social awareness and employee wellbeing remains at the top of our managements’ and boards’ agendas.
For Aker and the portfolio companies, Covid-19 also presented an opportunity to redefine our reason for being and the basis of our distinctiveness. As the pandemic hit, we asked ourselves: How can we tap into our 180-year history as industry builders to innovate, be a responsible employer and active owner through a time of crisis, and ensure profitable operations that both secure jobs and create value in a new market reality and outlook?