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“The World Economic Forum and the World Health Organization are launching an emergency coronavirus task force of 200 business leaders — including execs from Alphabet and KPMG
Mar 11, 2020, 6:06 PM
The World Health Organization and The World Economic Forum are launching an emergency task force to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The task force is called the COVID Action Platform for business and has more than 200 corporate members, including Alphabet, Nasdaq Inc, KPMG, and HP. It is open to any stakeholder interested in joining.
Some of the group's initial plans include helping the World Health Organization raise the estimated $12 billion it says is needed to create and distribute a coronavirus vaccine.
This article is part of Business Insider's Better Capitalism series, which tracks the ways companies and individuals are rethinking the economy and role of business in society.
The World Health Organization and The World Economic Forum are launching an emergency task force in response to the global outbreak of coronavirus, the organizations announced Wednesday.
The task force, called the COVID Action Platform, was created following a World Economic Forum conference call of more than 200 corporate leaders from around the globe concerned about the outbreak. Members include companies like Alphabet, Nasdaq Inc, KPMG, HP, Volkswagen, Bank of America, and Deloitte.
The group's main goals are to ensure global supply chains of key commodities remain intact, facilitate business donations to public health needs, develop vaccines and diagnostics, and pursue collaborations to address business and economic disruptions.
The move comes as global panic heightens. Coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, has killed more than 4,300 people and infected some 120,000 globally.
"COVID-19 is causing health emergencies and economic disruptions that no single stakeholder can address," Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said in a statement.
"Our best and only response to it should be to take concerted action. The COVID Action Platform is at the centre of our mission and we draw upon all our members and partners, communities and capabilities to make it a success," he added.
Immediate plans the task force will tackle include the global shortage of facemasks. The WHO estimates that there will soon be a shortage of 89 million facemasks needed by healthcare workers. Companies involved in manufacturing and transportation logistics plan on working together to help address the problem. Another plan is to help the WHO in its efforts to raise funds needed for a vaccine. The WHO estimates $2 billion in funds are needed for the creation of a coronavirus vaccine, and another $10 billion for the distribution of that vaccine.
Leaders from The World Economic Forum, the international organization that convenes world leaders each year in Davos, Switzerland, said the platform is open to any and all business or stakeholder looking to get involved, per to the press release.
Federal and local governments worldwide have taken action in response to the outbreak — from mandatory quarantines in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, to states of emergency across several US states and cities. But members of the COVID Action Platform don't want to rely on the public sector alone for solutions.
"The private sector has an essential role to play in combating this public health crisis through their expertise, innovation and resources," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. "We call on companies and organizations around the world to make full use of this platform in support of the global public health response to COVID-19."
Companies can register for the COVID Action Platform here.”