In its latest report on the COVID-19 crisis, Germany’s National Academy of Engineering and Science (acatech), states that preventing a standstill is essential. The report identifies three actions that are vital to keeping economies running – intervention, stabilisation and stimulation.

First of all, intervention should address both the public health crisis and the economic one. Its focus needs to be on the most immediate concerns, like supporting the healthcare system, getting over the short-term economic shock and mobilising entrepreneurial potential.

Secondly, stabilisation. Governments need to consider the implications of a potentially longer-term economic slowdown, particularly in light of basic necessities and social stability. Economic sectors should also be monitored to ensure social harmony.

Finally, post-Corona economic stimuli need to be put in place to help the economy get out of crisis-mode as quickly as possible and back towards sustainable growth. Strategic innovation projects are likely to play an important role in this. 

Sustainable innovation is a key

Image of Derk Swider

We need to think about the long-term challenges alongside the crisis and drive sustainable growth.

Derk Swider, E.ON's VP Foresight and Analytics and one of the contributors to the acatech report, is clear that innovative and CO2-neutral businesses will take the lead in a future economy. “Recovery should be built around green transition and digital transformation,” says Swider. “Bouncing back economically and transitioning to a sustainable and climate-neutral economy go hand in hand."

European leaders are already rolling out some of the first initiatives towards supporting sustainable growth. On 14th April, 180 politicians, business leaders, trade unionists, and civil society representatives launched the Green Recovery Alliance in the European Parliament. The alliance – which also includes E.ON, Iberdrola, Enel and others – has called for post-COVID-19 green investment packages, as well as an economic strategy that makes the fight against climate change and for biodiversity a key pillar of recovery.

Despite the current challenges, it is clear we need to maintain a long-term strategic course and continue with the systematic pursuit of ambitious climate goals. “Although other issues are currently in the spotlight, we mustn’t lose sight of the future of our planet,” says Derk Swider.

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