British International Investment
27 April 2020

How can investors help companies protect jobs during COVID-19?

Coronavirus is affecting livelihoods all over the world at an unparalleled scale and pace. Beyond severely threatening people’s health, significant environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks have surfaced as businesses across all sectors face challenges from the immense economic and social disruption caused by the crisis. In addition to minimising exposure to coronavirus in the workplace, maintaining jobs and worker livelihoods is a key challenge. Protecting jobs is essential to help with the long-term recovery of businesses and economies, particularly in low-income countries where we invest. Millions of workers are vulnerable to layoffs and reduced income. Unprotected workers and vulnerable groups are particularly at risk, especially within the informal economy.

In this challenging time, it can be difficult for investors and financial institutions to know how best to support their investees. The response we each have to coronavirus will have a huge impact on livelihoods, and investors must think proactively about ways they can help companies to protect jobs. That’s why we partnered with Ergon Associates to produce this guidance note on job protection, which provides a practical framework to address job concerns, to help companies protect jobs and navigate some of the social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Our guidance shows how investors and financial institutions can support job protection through a combination of advice, influence and financial measures.  It focuses on topics including the job-related challenges raised by COVID-19; how investors and financial institutions can prioritise job-related risks in their portfolio; and financial measures to support jobs in crisis. Our recent webinar provides further information on effectively implementing these measures and is available to watch online. We have also produced a Q&A document in response to questions asked during the event.

The guidance is a living document which we will continue to update. We hope it will help to form a thoughtful and responsible investment response to COVID-19, and we encourage investors and financial institutions to get in touch with any comments or questions. Further sources of advice are available on our website at



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