Businesses need to put social responsibility at the fore to avoid long-term reputational damage following the pandemic, IRM Environmental and Social Governance Group chair Anita Punwani told the BBC in an interview.

Speaking in the wake of P&O Ferries’ decision to sack UK workers over the internet, she said it was difficult to understand the reasons for the decision. The company had failed to clearly communicate with all stakeholders about its rationale – including staff, a charge the business seems to accept.

“It is difficult to understand how all key stakeholders’ interests have been taken care of in the decision that has been made,” Punwani said.

She said that the business had the opportunity to turn the situation around by communicating on channels such as the BBC and social media. “They need to explain the decision and take people along with them.”

In a recent interview with Enterprise Risk magazine, Punwani said that organisations were increasingly including stakeholder viewpoints into their decision-making processes. Communicating effectively on social media platforms and in main stream media is a key skill organisations need to develop to safeguard their reputations.

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