The Brand Move Roundup – April 7, 2020

We’re tracking the notable brand moves & highlighting the companies who are tackling this challenge successfully.

We started this series of brand updates on March 12, but the reaction has been so positive, and the crisis so fast-moving, that we’re going to move to a continuously updated rolling news format from now until it’s all over (hopefully soon). Keep checking back here for the latest updates on how brands are dealing with coronavirus.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is responding to COVID-19 with initiatives to stabilize communities, support for customers tackling the challenges of this pandemic, and technology to help organizations adapt to this unprecedented situation. The firm launched two initiatives last week through networking business HPE Aruba. Recognizing that hospitals and first responders are faced with the need for additional networking infrastructure to augment capacity, they are donating $50 million worth of secure connectivity kits to provision pop-up clinics, testing sites and temporary hospital facilities in the United States, Canada and select countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific. In addition, to help healthcare organizations get set up quickly and scale their connectivity, HPE Aruba has created the Airheads Volunteer Corps, a registry of volunteer network engineers ready to assist in the build out of network infrastructures for medical facilities on the front lines of dealing with this pandemic. Almost 200 engineers spanning more than 20 countries signed up in the first 48 hours after the initiative launched. HPE also joined the U.S. Department of Energy and other industry and academic organizations to provide super-computing software and applications expertise free of charge to help researchers port, run, and optimize essential applications to combat this pandemic as part of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing consortium. The company’s other initiatives include a dollar-for-dollar matching campaign that provides HPE team members with the opportunity to contribute to relevant aid organizations.

Samsung Electronics has donated $29 million worth of funds and goods to government and communities that have been most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The South Korean technology company has supplied face masks and provided smartphones to patients in quarantine as well as air purifiers for hospitals. It has also given tablets to educational institutions for children affected by school closures. In its home country, the company has provided its employee education center to medical authorities for the purpose of being used as a patient care center. It has also provided its engineers for local face mask makers to improve their factory layouts and production processes to boost efficiency. One such company that received engineering support doubled its daily production output, Samsung said. Samsung has also donated some 330,000 face masks to the city of Daegu, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea.

Nike and its leaders have now committed more than $17 million to COVID-19 response efforts. The latest donation is a $1.6 million gift to help local organizations meet immediate needs, such as food assistance and medical care.The donations, in the form of grants, will support organizations that serve in the health, social service and humanitarian sectors, along with giving to food banks and COVID-19 response funds. In January the Oregon-based company gifted $1.4 million to the China Youth Development foundation to help provide front line workers with supplies and equipment to treat patients. Then, on March 18, Phil Knight, Nike co-founder and chairman emeritus, along with his wife Penny; Mark Parker, Nike executive chairman, with his wife Kathy; and John Donahoe, new Nike president and CEO, along with his wife Eileen, announced personal donations totaling $10 million. Those donations included $7 million to Oregon Health & Science University, located in Portland near Nike headquarters, $2 million to the Oregon Community Recovery Fund established by the Oregon Community Foundation and $1 million to the Oregon Food Bank. Concurrently, the Nike Foundation announced more than $4 million to funds supporting communities in Portland, Boston and Memphis, as well as a fund established by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and another fund supporting community partners across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Coffee chain Starbucks is extending catastrophe pay to employees until May 3, and has announced that its lobbies will remain closed until then. And the company is also making a donation of over $3 million to a variety of charities and nonprofits involved in fighting the effects of the pandemic. The temporary benefits for employees were originally expected to expire on April 19. Starbucks employees who are sick, self-isolating, or taking care of loved ones are eligible for 14 days of catastrophe pay through May 3. And employees who choose to work will receive Service Pay (an additional $3 per hour). Meanwhile, The Starbucks Foundation is offering $3 million to support relief efforts, including a $1 million donation to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $1 million to Give2Asia to support the region’s front-line medical workers. Previously, Starbucks has given donations to the Chinese Red Cross. The Foundation has also donated to various organizations in the U.S., including $250,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund. Starbucks has also pledged $250,000 to organizations that offer shelters and resources to the homeless.

As New York City has been one of the most affected regions, Starbucks is donating $250,000 to Robin Hood’s COVID Response Fund, $50,000 to United Way of New York City, $25,000 to the New York City Police Foundation, and $25,000 to the Food Bank for New York City. Starbucks is also supporting the United Way’s coronavirus-related efforts in the U.S. and Canada along with donating funds to hospital funds in Canada.

Sony Corp. has created a $100 million COVID-19 global relief fund to support people without having to change out of protective clothing. Food deliveries, which will be carried out by courier firm Yodel, will begin at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The service will then be extended to London’s Great Ormond Street children’s hospital and other locations across the country. The meals will be made using ingredients supplied by Tesco and prepared by Absolute Taste. “This is a time when all of us, individuals and businesses alike, need to stand up and be counted in the effort to combat Covid-19. We’re all in this together,” Dennis said.

Bank Wells Fargo will donate $175 million to help communities deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The contributions will focus on housing stability, small business and financial health. “The coronavirus is disrupting the daily lives of many people around the world, and Wells Fargo has taken — and will continue to take — the steps needed to support our customers, employees and communities during this difficult time,” CEO Charlie Scharf said in a statement. Donations will be made through an expedited grant-making process, the bank said. While most have yet to be made, the bank announced that it would give a $1 million grant to Feeding America.

Waste management and recycling company Powerday and London Irish Rugby Club have teamed up to deliver thousands of meals and vital equipment to hospitals across London. To make sure those working on the front line are cared for, the #PoweringTheNHS campaign, will initially see Powerday and London Irish make and deliver more than 100,000 meals for NHS staff. The meals will be created at London Irish’s Hazelwood training ground in Sunbury, West London. Chefs from the Hazelwood kitchen team have kindly volunteered to cook nourishing meals, that they would usually prepare for the playing squad, which will then be transported to hospitals by Powerday and London Irish staff. Edward Crossan, Vice Chairman of Powerday, commented: “Those working on the front line during this epidemic are true heroes. The number of lives they will save over the coming weeks will be in the thousands and we will all know someone affected by this disease. It goes without saying that we owe them a great debt of gratitude. It is the least we can do, and we will be utilizing our staff and company vehicles to reach as many hospitals as possible.”

NHL team Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley and the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation have announced a $1m donation to the Nevada COVID-19 Task Force. The funds are expected to go towards supplies such as personal protective equipment that will include surgical masks, N95-equivalent CDC-approved respirator masks, medical gloves, and medical gowns, according to representatives. Their neighbors, NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, have also pledged a matching sum said they are “proud to stand alongside community leaders that are doing everything that they can during this time of need” while pledging $1 million to help combat the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Global retail clothing chain Primark has announced it will create a fund to help pay the wages of the millions of garment workers affected by its decision to cancel tens of millions of pounds worth of clothing orders from factories in developing countries across the world. Collectively brands including Primark, Matalan and Edinburgh Woollen Company have cancelled £1.4bn and suspended an additional £1bn of orders in Bangladesh alone as they scramble to minimize losses in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic. The move has already seen more than a million Bangladeshi garment workers lose their jobs or be sent home without pay. Primark has announced that it will create a fund to help pay the wages of workers linked to orders that were due for shipment in the month after they were cancelled in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.