Scenario planners, economists and anyone with a platform will tell you that business as we know it will never be the same again. It’s too early to tell the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the world economy as a whole, but we know it will be dire. But at the heart of integrated thinking is understanding that it’s not only the economic implications that we need to be concerned about.

This is a wave of change that will affect all the capitals of business. These capitals are collections of value that go up and down, or are transformed through the activities of the organisation and are:

Financial                 Human

Manufactured        Social and relationship

Intellectual             Nature

Current events are rapidly changing the way we do business and, while the effect on the bottom line is concerning for every business owner, we cannot lose sight of the responsibility we have in times of crisis.

The IIRC defines integrated thinking as a multi-capital management approach that enables organisations to deliver their purpose to the benefit of their key stakeholders over time. It’s about creating and preserving value and enabling better decision-making based on interconnected, multi-capital information.

It is this integrated thinking that will enable companies to understand how to deploy resources to help others, to motivate staff to cope with change, to expand IT infrastructure and create a sustainable business during adversity. By applying multi-capital disciplines, we may be able to see new opportunities through careful risk management and an understanding of the company strategy if we manage to break through the divisions of self-preservation.

This wave of change may force us to ask how we are creating value for everyone during this time. Will the issues that are of concern today still be relevant in 6 months’ time and will we be proud? While only time will tell, we can be sure that we cannot rely on compliance alone to ensure survival.

Blue Apple has been publishing award-winning, annual sustainability and integrated reports for over 20 years and runs workshops for their clients or anyone who wishes to know how to produce a successful report.