Investing After COVID-19
COVID-19 has made significant changes to society. It's not just the medical sector that's been affected. Education and many office jobs have primarily shifted to online platforms. Many small businesses have closed. Schools, stores, and other businesses will be rethinking how much space they rent and what they'll be willing to pay for it. All of these trends and more will influence the way people invest after the pandemic.
One big trend that's expected to continue is working and shopping from home. The pandemic has demonstrated that telecommuting works. Stores have also refined their processes for pulling and packing orders for online shoppers. It seems unlikely that people will be willing to give up the convenience of operating online for commuting again.
Companies that make video conferencing software, like Zoom, have seen big gains this year. It's expected that these platforms will continue to make good investments.
When it comes to large-scale economic recovery, the outlook is not entirely positive. Most economists suspect that the US will be looking at a W-shaped recovery. This means a recovery, followed by some setbacks and, finally, more recovery.
While the long-term picture looks great, in the short-term, things will be bumpy. Recovery in specific localities will depend on the industries and environment there. For example, communities that rely on tourism as their main industry will likely have a longer recovery period than large cities with diverse interests.
One huge trend that's really taken off during the pandemic is the growth of ESG investment. ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance. ESG investing is designed to be more sustainable than traditional investments. Enterprises caught off guard at the start of the pandemic are very interested in not making that same mistake twice. They want to position themselves well for short- and long-term success, no matter what is happening in the outside world.
Having a comprehensive ESG policy also means confronting the stark inequality that has been revealed by the pandemic. ESG asks, how can businesses be a part of the solution and not the problem? Many companies are adopting ESG as a key plank of their corporate governance structure. Common ESG strategies are based on globally-known sustainability agreements, including the Paris agreement.
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