| 28.05.2020

International agreements would create better resilience to future crises

Sustainable strategy in turbulent times the panel
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected economics on all levels in society. In order to ensure a more resilient and flexible society in the future it’s important for countries not to isolate themselves, but rather to take global regulatory actions through international agreements and that applies as much to fighting pandemics and climate change, said Topi Miettinen, Professor at Hanken School of Economics, during an online event at Hanken.

Topi Miettinen also pointed out that Finland, unlike Sweden, is currently in a state of the epidemic where the greater interest and one’s personal interest are in particularly strong conflict.

–The private interest for usage of protective measures (such as masks, disinfecting etc.) when engaging in economic interaction is currently low but the general interest for usage of such protective measures is high, Miettinen said. The government should make whatever it takes to secure that businesses and individuals take those measures. Those measures promote the economy and health outcomes in the longer run, he continued.

According to Heidi Schauman, Chief Economist at Swedbank, the Nordic governments have succeeded well in their strategies to support companies, but more flexibility is needed also going forward.

– The temporary lay-off system in the Nordics has worked well, but there is still a need for further flexibility and structural reforms such as possibilities for companies to make local agreements on the labour market, she added.

Banks have also taken measures of their own accord to help people recover from the crisis. Many banks, primarily in Finland, have offered their customers the possibility to temporarily stop amortising.

– As opposed to the financial crisis in 2008, banks are now rather a part of the solution than the problem, said Hanna Westman, Chief Economist at The Financial Stability Authority. Banks are supporting companies and the real economy. I really hope this doesn’t evolve into a banking crisis, but authorities are also making plans and creating bailing tools in the event of a bank failing to meet the requirements stated, she added.

The travel business is one industry that has been highly affected by the pandemic with empty hotels and flights operating at a minimum. Earlier hiccups in the trade have had a fast rebound, but the question is what the recovery will look like this time?

– The pandemic has taught us that much can be accomplished remotely online, which means less business travelling, probably also in the future. However, in the long run we cannot avoid business travels altogether since it’s impossible to build customer relations remotely, Roger Holm, EVP at Wärtsilä and member of the Hanken School of Economics’ Board, stated.

Hanken School of Economics organised an online event on economic recovery from the current pandemic 27.5.2020 with nearly 700 participants signing up from 21 countries. At the event Sustainable strategy in turbulent times – key factors to recover from Covid-19, six experts took a closer look at what the actions and consequences have been so far and how the future might unfold from an economic point of view.

The panel was led by Marc Hinnenberg, Hanken&SSE Executive Education. Also participating in the discussion were Pirkko Harrela, Executive Vice President, Stakeholder Relations at UPM and Penna Urrila, Chief Economist at The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK.

Watch the whole discussion on video here!