"Many of the rules of the game have changed for good. In future, both customers and interested parties will stipulate stricter corporate governance requirements," says Lin Jacobsen Hammer, DNV's Sustainability and Training Manager.
"It's not just about having enough disinfectant at work, this will affect a lot of the operations of very many companies," she states.
When the pandemic broke out, she and her colleagues acted quickly.
"We saw that our expertise could help not only to tackle the challenges right here and now, but also to establish corporate governance that can deal with future challenges. We sat down and gathered DNV's professional expertise to find out how to avoid ending up here again," says Hammer.
From there, it did not take long for the first pilot project to be under way.
"Our starting point for developing this service was to look at the situation in a wider context. Guidance from the authorities changes rapidly, so we had to think further ahead into the future. A willingness to change is more important than ever," she points out.
Once the work began, it did not take long for the first DNV 'maturity assessment' pilot project to start in Asia. This looked at both the national infection control measures and the best practice in the given industry.
"Our service is structured such that, once you have established good, new infection control procedures, the management tools ensure that the operations are continuously improved."
She says the entire service is built up around six areas that the operations are assessed against.
"The maturity assessment is a way for the company to build trust with its customers and differentiate itself from its competitors. Those using our service obtain an external view of their ability to handle the infection risk and understand the measures they have to implement," says Hammer.
"They are given several tools to use in assuring their customers, employees and suppliers that good procedures are in place. Among other things, we provide an extensive report and communication tool that show they are complying with the authorities' requirements. This is extremely relevant for all countries and industries," she adds.
Independent third party with multidisciplinary expertise
"DNV is a neutral party that can verify, assess, certify and quality assure products, services and companies. We've worked with the health sector for many years, and have among other things developed infection control standards that we certify US hospitals against."
Hammer says that DNV cooperates with health personnel, international, national and regional health authorities, and other key interested parties around the world in order to improve health service quality.
"We also have a lot of expertise in risk management, corporate governance and, not least, the working environment," she states.
Four crises in one
Hammer believes that Covid-19 has proven to be four crises in one, each of which affects companies to a greater or lesser extent.
"First and foremost, we have seen dramatic, frequent changes relating to health and safety. Many companies have also had to adapt to radical changes in supply and demand; when China closes down, supply chains worldwide come to a halt. When all of society comes to a halt, as it has done in 2020, this also leads to a cash-flow crisis for very many companies," she points out.
"Last, but not least, all this has led to a crisis of confidence among employees, customers and other interested parties. This must be taken seriously so that the need for confidence is met as we return to the new normal," concludes Hammer.