Businesses in the cultural, education, hospitality, retail, travel and tourism sectors have undeniably been the most severely hit by the outbreak of COVID-19. After more than fifteen traumatic months of restrictions, disruption and lack of clarity these sectors are now desperate to resume normal operations and reopen to the public.
However, as countries across the globe begin to unlock, reducing or eliminating social distancing measures and slowly returning to business as usual, the need for clear direction on sanitary rules is paramount. Transparent communications and guidelines are crucial if businesses are to ensure a safe transition, whilst prioritising operational resiliency and proper risk mitigation.
On the 7th June 2021, TIC Council hosted a webinar entitled, “Reopening the economy and improving long term resilience post COVID-19”. This set out to capitalise upon the lessons learnt from the pandemic and exchange recommendations for preparing an effective policy toolbox to improve preparedness and resilience against future sanitary crises or natural disasters.
Our dedicated virtual panel brought together speakers from the European Commission and industry leaders representing both the TIC sector and the consumer voice in standardisation. In doing so, this panel provided our audience with an expert cross-sectoral discussion highlighting that economic prosperity is dependent on effective health and safety protocols.
The panel, moderated by Hanane Taidi, Director General of TIC Council began with a pertinent presentation from John F. Ryan, Director of Public Health at Health and Food Safety, Directorate-General (DG SANTE) of the European Commission. Who provided detail on the current actions the European Commission is taking to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and to strengthen resilience against future threats. In summary, Mr. Ryan, outlined the steps required to reinforce EU legislation to deal with cross-border health threats namely, implementing stronger alert systems and audits to enhance pan-European and global preparedness.
Following this, our second panellist Gilles Martin, CEO of Eurofins gave a detailed presentation explaining the role of the TIC sector in responding to the newly heightened demand for sanitary inspections as a result of the pandemic. Mr. Martin expressed the value of the TIC sector in contributing to public health efforts by detecting where sanitary blind spots exist and assisting in containing areas where the virus is predominantly present. Mr. Martin also noted that common protocols developed in cooperation with governmental institutions, which involve sample testing, quality assurance certification and surveillance, are fundamental to avoiding disruption and assuring cost effectiveness for businesses seeking to implement robust sanitary measures.
Our final panellist Chiara Giovannini, Deputy Director-General for ANEC, the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation cited the rise of misinformation as her principal concern, explaining how the current climate is deterring consumers from purchasing goods and services. She highlighted that further protocols which ensure that businesses are rigorous in their implementation of sanitary measures, will be necessary to reduce avoidable contamination and thereby restore consumer confidence. These protocols, essential to rebuilding trust include amongst others, staff training, PPE testing and risk assessment procedures. Ms. Giovannini also stressed the value of improving sanitary standards to not only mitigate the risks involved with reopening the economy, but to provide much needed guidance to both manufacturers and service providers. If such an approach is taken this will strengthen business resilience in adapting to the new normal and help to avoid a regression to stricter lockdown measures in the future.
· Hanane Taidi, Director General, TIC Council
· John F. Ryan, Director of Public Health at Health and Food Safety, Directorate-General (DG SANTÉ) of the European Commission
· Chiara Giovannini, Deputy Director-General, ANEC, the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation
· Gilles Martin, CEO, Eurofins
To learn more, please click to access the webinar recording here.
The presentation of the webinar can also be found here.
Click to read our Position Paper on Policy recommendations for societies resilient to sanitary risks here.
As TIC Council continues to provide thought-provoking presentations on the current market trends and legislative developments around conformity assessment, check our list of webinars to learn more.
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Editor’s Note About TIC Council:
TIC Council is the global trade federation representing the independent third-party Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry which brings together more than 90-member companies and organizations from around the world to speak with one voice. Its members provide services across a wide range of sectors: consumer products, medical devices, petroleum, mining and metals, food, and agriculture among others. Through provision of these services, TIC Council members assure that not only regulatory requirements are met, but also that reliability, economic value, and sustainability are enhanced. TIC Council’s members are present in more than 160 countries and employ more than 300,000 people across the globe.