The JUST Report: Americans Want Business Leaders to Protect Our Democratic Process

This week, a coalition of business associations – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, and others – signed a statement declaring that “the strength of our nation’s democracy depends on the integrity and fairness of our elections.” Recognizing that it may be weeks until the outcome of the election is settled, the letter urges Americans to “support the process set out in our federal and state laws and to remain confident in our country’s long tradition of peaceful and fair elections.” The statement is one of several released by business leaders in the last several weeks, including through the Civic Alliance and Leadership Now, speaking up for a safe and fair democratic process.

This is exactly what the American public wants to see. With Election Day less than a week away, we built upon our recent polling and asked Americans what role they think companies and corporate leaders should play in upholding and protecting democracy. We found that:

  • 83% of Americans agree that the health of our economy depends on the strength of our democracy (across traditional Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal ideological divides).
  • Strong majorities agree corporate leaders have a responsibility to speak out publicly against voter intimidation at polling sites (63%), for a peaceful post-election period even if there’s no clear winner on Election Day (62%), and for a full and proper counting of ballots in the event of a contested election (62%).
  • 75% agrees that media companies – including social media – should prioritize providing citizens with facts about the election and helpful information about voting.
  • 71% think companies should pause or stop advertising on social media platforms that do not actively combat misinformation about the election.

Check out the full results of the survey, fielded in collaboration with The Harris Poll, here.

And keep in mind this: regardless of the election outcome, it is clear that business, markets, and government must work together to create the kind of powerful, just, and inclusive economy America so desperately needs. That is our mission.

Be well, and go vote!

— Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

Chobani raises its minimum starting wage to $15 dollars an hour, making the average hourly wage across the company $19 dollars an hour.

CVS will hire more than 10,000 new pharmacy technicians as it prepares for more COVID-19 cases and vaccine distribution.

Goldman Sachs will pay $3 billion and recoup $178 million from executives to settle the 1MDB scandal.

Microsoft, America’s Most JUST Company in our 2021 Rankings, had its best quarter ever.

PayPal invests more than $50 million in eight Black- and Latino- led venture capital firms as part of its $530 million pledge to support Black-owned businesses and minority neighborhoods.

Verizon invests $44 million to help upskill Americans who are unemployed due to the coronavirus epidemic.

JUST Events

Thursday, November 5, from 4PM to 5:30PM ET
Business and Markets as a Force For Good: Building Stakeholder Capitalism in America

Join JUST Capital and the New York Stock Exchange for a discussion on how business and markets can take the lead in building a more just and inclusive marketplace in America. Featuring speakers from APG Asset Management US, McKinsey, NYSE, Two Sigma Impact, AT&T, and more. Register to attend.

What’s Happening at JUST

We have lots of engaging and insightful video content to share this week, including the replay of our entire Forbes JUST 100 event featuring JUST 100 CEOs, board members, Pharrell Williams, and more!

If you missed our webinar on How to Make Worker Financial Wellness a C-Suite Priority: Introducing the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative with PayPal, Financial Health Network, and Good Jobs Institute, you can watch the session and get involved here.

We highly recommend the Economy & Justice episode of UNFINISHED, which kicks off with a fabulous “Finished/Unfinished” segment featuring PayPal CEO Dan Schulman and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, and concludes with a thoughtful conversation between Martin, PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell and The New York Times’ David Leonhardt on how we might create a more just and inclusive economy.

If you’d like quick insights from our latest polling and Rankings, check out this 3BL Summit discussion, and if you’d like to learn more about stakeholder capitalism and what it means for corporate governance, this Bipartisan Policy Center session is for you.

Must-Reads of the Week

JUST joins an investor initiative led by Illinois Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs and Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, featured in Bloomberg and Pensions & Investments, which calls on Russell 3000 companies to disclose their boards’ racial, ethnic, and gender data. The letter calls on companies to voluntarily disclose the data “given the correlation between board diversity and long-term performance” and builds on our work with other pension funds asking U.S. companies to disclose their workforce demographic data.

This initiative adds to recent momentum: Barron’s reports that the number of Black board members surged among the Russell 3000 in the five months since George Floyd’s death.

The Washington Post reports that warehouse jobs have dramatically increased this year, with more than 1 million people on payrolls in September, about 46,000 more than in February.

Chart of the Week

In a previous Chart of the Week from May 2020, we analyzed ROE specific to the companies that score highest on our workers stakeholder to find a 1.5% outperformance of median 5-year average ROE when comparing the top quintile of highest workers scores to the bottom quintile. This week, we update the chart with new data from our 2021 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies, showing that the top quintile still exhibits a 5.7% return on equity premium.

Have questions about our research and rankings?  We want to hear from you!