General - COVID19 supermarket ©John Cameron

Much of the corporate communications in response to the latest COVID-19 outbreak is rightly centred on the gargantuan global health and economic challenges it poses. But some of the businesses operating in the environmental services space have the perfect opportunity to pivot towards helping the global response to the virus, using their valuable expertise to support clients and others through the challenges. 

A number of consulting firms with strengths in disaster planning and preparedness; health, safety and environmental (HSE) services; and/or epidemiology and laboratory services; are well positioned to help mitigate and turn the tide on this pandemic. Already a number of businesses have stepped up their efforts in recent days/weeks. 

In the US for example, Rockville, Maryland-headquartered engineering and environmental consultancy Apex Companies is making its industrial hygiene and safety professionals available for its clients. The firm is offering support for infectious disease outbreak planning; contamination protocol reviews; personal protective equipment consulting and process conformance evaluations. 

Meanwhile, the French-headquartered global inspection, testing, verification and consulting group, Bureau Veritas, is offering business continuity and disaster planning advisory support to its clients. The firm is training clients in how to implement the ISO 22301 (international standard in business continuity services) as well as certification and auditing. 

Dutch-based global design, engineering and management consultancy Arcadis is also providing business continuity planning consultancy in line with ISO 22301. Other services it is highlighting at this time include biohazard and remedial management; regulatory compliance / communications; emergency preparedness and prevention; and training. 

UK-based Ensafe Consultants (formerly known as REC until a rebrand a few weeks ago [EA 10-Mar-20]) for example, has started to offer cleaning, decontamination using CDC and EPA approved industrial-strength disinfectants. The firm is also offering a comprehensive bio-cleaning training service for operators working near contaminated areas. 

Similarly, British environmental services firm RSK is pitching its decontamination services to housebuilders and contractors for offices, facilities and worksites. Their regional decontamination teams are equipped with a "thorough understanding of viral decontamination and the latest cleaning technology to combat this threat". 

The UK-based engineering, environmental and strategic consultancy Ricardo hosted a business preparedness webinar recently, where senior crisis management consultant Chris Lewis "cut through the noise" to provide practical measures to help organisations create a battle plan. Ricardo is planning another free webinar on the importance of scenario planning on the 15 April.

Environment Analyst too in coming weeks will be announcing a series of virtual panels, round tables and webinars to inform and debate the shorter term challenges of COVID-19 amidst the longer term push towards sustainability. Watch this space.