We’re now on day nine of Russia’s surprise incursion into Ukraine. Ukrainians are continuing their fierce resistance. Nonetheless, the human toll and devastation have been heartbreaking. More than 1 million refugees have already fled. As of early this morning, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, located in Ukraine, was on fire, after heavy shelling by Russian forces, raising grave concern about the potential for an accident, which could have far reaching implications for not only Ukraine, but all of Europe.
With political leaders making some really dire predictions—some even anticipate that the war could last 10 years or more—the business community will—like it or not—have to adjust to the new pressures this brings. As President Biden announced in his State of the Union address, the U.S. will be banning Russian planes from our airspace and enforcing severe economic sanctions.
No one needs another crisis after two years of COVID, but in the months to come business leaders will have to tap into the resilience and resourcefulness that guided them through the pandemic. Although the war is being fought on soil that is half a world away, digital technology has made the world a lot smaller.
The banking crisis in Russia—where Western countries have frozen most of the country’s foreign reserves—is a reminder of how important it is for companies to plan for sudden disruptions and build backup plans into their financial and technology systems. Given how wars are fought in the digital age, every business should have well-tested plans in place to minimize the impact of disruption in the event of a cyberattack. Marcum Tech’s cyber security team—which includes many industry professionals who worked at senior levels in government, the military and law enforcement—has been busy helping clients make sure their systems are optimized.
With inflation showing no signs of abating any time soon and fuel costs rising as a result of the war, it is also very important to keep a keen eye on materials costs. Prices for just about everything are likely to keep going up. Marcum’s latest Commercial Construction Index found that rapidly rising materials prices are putting a damper on new building, and construction is only one of many industries feeling the pain.
And, as COVID taught us, keeping revenue streams diversified is also a wise insurance plan. Some sources of revenue may dry up during a crisis, but challenging times always bring many opportunities for businesses to serve their communities. Think of all of the factories that pivoted into mask-making and PPE manufacturing, keeping millions of Americans safe.
The UN has voted to demand that Russia end the war in Ukraine and is looking into finding a way around Moscow’s veto. Even the historically neutral countries Finland and Sweden participated in an emergency NATO summit last week, and one of the largest mobilizations of NATO troops in history is underway. And businesses, local governments and even private citizens are doing what they can to shut down Russia’s economic pipeline in spontaneous ways. The state of Pennsylvania and nine other states, as of this writing, just banned the sale of Russian vodka.
Global pressure won’t end the war overnight, but it will make it more difficult for Putin to proceed. In the meantime, many charities are stepping up to help the Ukrainians. Given the scope of this crisis, however, there’s plenty of room for good, old-fashioned business ingenuity to solve the problems it has caused. Now is the time for all of us to keep our eyes on the prize—ending this unconscionable invasion.