Original Research - Special Collection: Wars and pandemics economic and financial consequences

Sustainability elements of companies that are affected by pandemics

Anneke M. Moolman, Jaco P. Fouché, Verona Leendertz
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 16, No 1 | a828 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v16i1.828 | © 2023 Anneke M. Moolman, Jaco P. Fouché, Verona Leendertz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 August 2022 | Published: 21 February 2023

About the author(s)

Anneke M. Moolman, School of Accounting Sciences, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Jaco P. Fouché, School of Accounting Sciences, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Verona Leendertz, Department of Research and Innovation, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: The havoc created by COVID-19 reaffirmed the pervasive effects of pandemics on companies’ sustainability, which has become an increasingly important consideration for stakeholders.

Research purpose: This study determined the sustainability elements of companies that are affected by pandemics.

Motivation for the study: Pandemics’ recurring nature is evidenced by history. Knowledge of pandemics’ effects on sustainability may assist companies in preparing for and reporting on pandemics, while such information to stakeholders may be important when considering a company’s sustainability.

Research design and method: The study followed a systematic review. The final sample constituted 30 records, which were thematically analysed.

Main findings: A list of sustainability elements of companies that are affected by pandemics is provided. Government-imposed restrictions led to supply and demand shocks, severely threatening companies’ financial performance and socio-economic targets. Pandemics also present opportunities to improve business models by increasing focus on relationships, nature and digitalisation.

Practical implications: This study may assist companies to minimise the effects of future pandemics on sustainability by urging them to recognise the interplay between sustainability’s components. Companies should have some financial leeway and consider the composition of its product/service range (essential versus non-essential) and the delivery thereof (traditional vs. e-commerce), consider and reduce its impact on nature, become more human-centric and finally, revisit their strategy through strong governance.

Contribution: Current literature describes some effects of a single pandemic on companies within a specific industry, whereas this study’s scope is broadened to consider all pandemics and industries to derive an extensive list of affected sustainability elements. Current sustainability frameworks do not specify pandemic-related disclosure requirements, making the list useful as a reporting guideline.


Keywords

COVID-19; pandemic; systematic review; sustainability; companies

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Crossref Citations

1. Sustainability reporting in pandemics: Theoretical development of guidelines for improved reporting
Anneke Maré Moolman, Jaco Paulus Fouché, Verona Leendertz
Cogent Economics & Finance  vol: 11  issue: 2  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1080/23322039.2023.2246321