What we’re watching this week: 3/8/21

Today is International Women’s Day, which usually means a torrent of content celebrating women’s contributions to society, business, and beyond. We’ll be watching to see how companies and news outlets address gender equality and the painful realities laid bare by the pandemic’s uneven toll on women around the world. That and the trends below are on our radar this week.

The electrification boom

All signs point to major electric vehicle (EV) growth in the US, say industry analysts. Big moves from the Biden administration and bold commitments from automakers like GM and Volvo are solidifying the trend. It’s good news for automotive decarbonization, but we’re forecasting a wave of content that looks at the other side of the coin:

  • This New York Times article asks whether the nation’s power grid is ready to meet demand when EVs take off.
  • Slate’s article, “We Can’t Afford to Let Electric Cars Become Luxury Items” raises critical questions about where charging stations are located, how affordable EV technology—and new cars—are, and how to reach communities plagued by poverty and pollution.
  • Tailpipe emissions are just one problem to solve; EVs have the potential to push material emissions upward. Here, McKinsey charts a path toward the zero-carbon car.

Worker burnout…again

There’s been an outpouring of content on worker burnout, from how frontline essential workers are coping and the stress of sacrifice to the challenges of remote work and Zoom fatigue. Psychologists study it, leaders discuss it—yet no one’s cracked the code. We’re keeping burnout on our forecast for the long haul:

  • This Harvard Business Review series, “The Burnout Crisis,” goes deep on causes of burnout and how the pandemic worsened an existing crisis.
  • In Deloitte’s recent podcast, “The disconnect disconnect,” experts discuss the importance of time off and the oft-overlooked relationship between company culture and policy.
  • An article in STAT looks at healthcare workers being pushed over the edge by the pandemic—which affects society at large.

Vaccine vicissitudes

The world is watching the vaccine rollout closely, and new developments emerge daily. Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose shot is taking off, and developed economies are seeing tangible results. But there’s more to the story—underserved populations and developing economies are in trouble:

  • Rich countries are getting ahead, the Financial Times reports, and this will have severe long-term consequences on the global economy. This is particularly salient as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an economic crisis in Latin America, where the UN says rising unemployment and poverty will set the region back significantly.
  • BCG analysis shows that wealthy nations have 13 times the per capita vaccine coverage as lower-income countries, which raises questions about how to protect a global population facing such wealth disparities.
  • The New York Times looks at the glaring racial disparities in US vaccine distribution. Across 38 states, the vaccination rate of Black people is half that of white people.

Alia Samhat

Alia is a partner at Leff. Her expertise is in creative strategy and content development. She spends her time working with writers, marketers, designers, video producers, analysts, and subject matter experts to produce meaningful work.

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