Hugh Wheelan: What Responsible Investor is doing about the Corona virus, and how we can support each other

Short-term resilience and smart thinking will be key

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Times of crisis are often reminders of what is really important.

This global Covid-19 pandemic and likely economic recession will be different; all crises are. 

But also the same.

In the midst of dramatic market plunges and scrambling political/corporate responses to Covid-19, our answers to new, temporary ways of community and personal contact, relieving medical system stress and protecting jobs and minimising real economy impacts will be what defines us.  

As will our reliance on science, expertise and ability to co-ordinate an international political, fiscal and monetary response.

Short-term resilience and smart thinking will be key.

And long-term planning and deep, structural, sustainable investment will be crucial, especially as central banks and governments become entrenched in safeguarding the economy. 

This is what will get us out the other side of the toughest crisis of this generation; probably even more so than 2008 now that the monetary response cannon is almost out of gunpowder. 

We remember 2008 well, having launched in 2007 into the teeth of the GFC. Twelve years later we mustn’t forget that in the wake of that crisis responsible investment has become mainstream; I remember the naysayers who said sustainable finance would be steamrollered by the last financial ‘reality check’. *

Nor should we overlook that our work has just begun: the sustainability challenges are as big and economically relevant as ever. 

So here’s our Covid crisis response to our readers and friends in sustainable business and finance and beyond. 

We’d really love to hear from you about what your organisations are doing! 

You can contact us on or

Let’s keep informed together, and collectively publish our stories of smart thinking, responsive organisations and acts of sustainable and economic solidarity. 

On the staff/public virus mitigation side, Responsible Investor, as a small business of 34 people, carried out a home-working test last Friday, and all our staff are now working from home where they can, until further notice. We believe it’s right to minimise physical contact for now, and we’ve stopped travel and meetings in favour of phone calls and web chats.

Our daily journalism continues, of course, and we’re discussing – as we do every day – in our now on-line editorial meetings, about how to make our coverage as relevant and practical as possible in these interesting times; again we’d be pleased to hear your thoughts and ideas.

We’re also making a clear, digital effort on the webinar front to deepen thinking on what we believe are the biggest issues of the moment, and the longer term.

The webinars are free to join, so pass on the links to your networks.

You can see our webinar channel here.

Over 1300 of you have listened to last week’s webinar in association with ShareAction on the Global Ranking of Asset Managers’ ESG Performance  

Almost 600 are already signed up for tomorrow’s (March 18) webinar, in partnership with FTSE Russell, titled: The right climate for fixed income sustainability

And starting on April 1, we will be running a three-part series on the implications of the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan that I am leading.

They are as follows: 

We’ll also be taking a ‘railshow’ (yes, it’s a roadshow by train!) workshop series on the EU Action Plan out across Europe into local markets later this year.

In addition, we’ll be announcing a two-part webinar series in May in the next couple of days in association with Carbon Tracker, doing some deep-dive presentations and Q&A on their forthcoming reports on the ‘Knowns and unknowns of the energy transition’ and an update on their landmark ‘Powering down coal’ study. Look out for those!

Check out our other spring webinars:

We are, however, also having to postpone some of our large scale conferences until later this year. There is no event insurance for pandemics.

We’ll keep you posted on those changes as soon as we know. 

Alongside subscriptions, event sponsorship and attendance is what enables us to carry on doing what we believe is the vital journalism and convening to build a responsible finance future. It is our conviction and passion; as it is for all of you. 

We’re finalising the dates for those postponed conferences, at which time we will have to convince the responsible business and finance community to attend by making them even better than we believe they are already.

That’s the challenge that we will rise to!

We’re sure all of you are thinking right now about how you and your organisations can rise to your own challenges. 

Let’s be in touch daily, and dig deep for a responsible and sustainable social and economic recovery.

Good health and strength to you all. 

Hugh Wheelan, Joint Managing Director & Co-founder, Responsible Investor

* You may be aware that the company behind Responsible Investor is called Response Global Media, so-called because Responsible Investor was our initial on-line response to the short-term, profits-before-planet thinking that had come to define financial markets. We continued to articulate our response during the global financial crisis which started in 2007 shortly after we launched, and we will continue to expound the clear benefits of long-term, profits-and-planet both during the current crisis and long into the future!