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Battling COVID-19: Harnessing the Values of Corporate Social Responsibility

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Battling COVID-19: Harnessing the Values of Corporate Social Responsibility

By Larry Solomon, Chief People Officer, EPAM

There are more than usual challenges facing corporations this year – not just balance sheets and dividends, but how we are all responding to COVID-19. Despite the challenges COVID-19 has thrown our way, it’s been heartwarming to see how individuals, communities, companies and governments have come together to support each other. After all, we are all in this pandemic fight together and that’s why EPAM is rallying #TogetherAsOne to help as much as we can both globally and locally.

I previously wrote about EPAM’s CSR initiatives in CEO World Magazine. In many ways it foreshadowed our COVID-19 response (see Everything is Our Business: Defining Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century, February 27, 2020). In that article, I discussed how our business extends past our customers to affect the world in which we live. But we have learned a more important lesson since; the world in which we live profoundly affects us, as well as our businesses, our employees, their families and everyone else – hence #TogetherAsOne. Looking back, the seminal point from my article was, “For many businesses, success today is as much about doing well as it is about doing good, whether for the world or the people and creatures that inhabit it.”

Our CSR initiatives are making a significant impact and helped prepare us for our highly disciplined, engineered and people-first coronavirus response. To that end, our collective global response has included more than $1.5 million in resource contributions, including a partnership with UNICEF, as well as a significant number of open source and community relief efforts across more than 15 countries.

We are also really proud of our employees’ volunteer efforts. Many are enthusiastically donating their time in the fight against the pandemic, supporting local hospitals, healthcare workers and emergency responders as well as diligently working to utilize their technical expertise and commitment to open source to develop solutions that anyone can use. We are focused on giving back where we live and work – from North America to Europe to APAC – providing resources, funding, valuable personal protective equipment and engineering services to those that need it most. Let’s take a closer look at our initiatives, the organizations we are supporting, and our insights on how to adapt to this new normal.

Meeting the Need

This global pandemic presents all of us with a unique opportunity for us to mobilize and act #TogetherAsOne to help. Here are a few more examples of how EPAMers are proactively meeting the needs of healthcare providers, local communities, and governments by donating work and other resources as well as contributing real, open source solutions to support the tens of thousands of people on the front lines of local relief efforts:

  • Just a couple of weeks ago, our European employees came together to create the Immunization Pass, a blockchain-based mobile app. The app secured second place in the “Support Arts and Entertainment” category at the European Commission-sponsored #EUvsVirus Hackathon.
  • Back in March, the World Health Organization called on industries to increase manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by 40% to meet rising global demand. In response, EPAM Continuum introduced the open source GENTL MaskTM which was designed in our own Made Real Lab™, to help manufacturers meet the supply shortage of protective masks that medical professionals need now, more than ever. The design was later approved by the Belarus Ministry of Health. In Belarus, we partnered with clothing manufacturer, Mark Formelle, to build and deliver 100,000 masks for hospitals in Minsk, Borisov, Vitebsk and other cities. The GENTL Mask is based on a simple, easy-to-manufacture design using readily available materials that can be made virtually anywhere.
  • In early April, we used our implementation expertise to rapidly scale mass screening and testing services with the Curogram two-way texting and video chat telemedicine platform. It is now the only text messaging and telemedicine system on the market that works directly with any electronic health record (EHR) system. Our partnership with Curogram, by enabling rapid, mass screening and testing, helps fulfill what experts say is critical to reopening economies.
  • A few weeks ago, our teams partnered to create and launch the open source COVID Resistance solution, a contact-tracing mobile app that anonymously tracks risk exposure to COVID-19. The app, which is GDPR and HIPAA-compliant, uses real-time, anonymous, tokenized data through Bluetooth to alert users if they are at risk of COVID-19 transmission based on their proximity to at-risk or infected users.
  • We also deployed technology education resources through EPAM eKidsScratch and Science Buddies to help parents meet today’s greater work and family responsibilities. And we recently introduced Paws to Wash, a fun DIY prototyping project that shows parents and kids how to make an adorable feedback timer, with a waving cat, to encourage healthy handwashing habits.
  • The fight against COVID-19 spotlights the increasing importance technology plays in the operations of hospitals, insurance companies and the lives of patients. So, we published an insightful new whitepaper that shows how, in 2020 and beyond, five key stressors will drive the need for, and growth of, greater digitalization across the healthcare ecosystem. I encourage you to read it.

The enormous challenge of COVID-19 has forced us all to take a step back and really think about the ways we can leverage our corporate resources – especially our most important asset, our employees – to help the greater community. Ultimately, I believe Corporate Social Responsibility can truly infuse any organization – and embracing those values will empower your own efforts to fight the pandemic.

The original article can be found here.