The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how important it is for infrastructure companies to manage all stakeholders in order to thrive.
The rolling lockdowns that have characterised the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted how necessary infrastructure companies are to the way we live, according to Rebecca Myatt, portfolio manager for global listed infrastructure at First Sentier.
“During COVID-19 we have been reminded which services are essential for society to function at its most basic level,” Ms Myatt said. “As we have all retreated into our own homes our basic needs have been for the water to be running, electricity and gas to be supplied, and for our Wi-Fi to work so that we can remain connected to the outside world.”
The crisis has also exposed the fact that infrastructure companies need a “social licence” to operate – something Ms Myatt says has been key to their performance.
“Looking after all stakeholders is a fundamental part of honouring your social license to operate, so the pandemic should not have changed that,” Ms Myatt said. “We know that when companies fail to build their business strategy around all stakeholders, then regulators and politicians get involved. When that happens, the company never wins.”
Ms Myatt says the crisis has also highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships and how infrastructure companies can aid the economic recovery on the other side of the crisis.
“We also believe that infrastructure can have a role to play in driving economic growth,” Ms Myatt said. “For example, the European Green Deal could help in stimulating the economy through investment in renewable generation, electrification of transportation and decarbonisation of heating. This allows companies to accelerate their investment in renewables, which in turn leads to job creation and economic growth.”
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