The JUST Report: As the Country Holds its Breath, Business Leadership is Needed


*Photos by Adam Schulz

As I write this, the outcome of the Presidential election is still on a razor’s edge. Whoever emerges victorious will face a divided Congress and a country riven by political discord and scarred by an electoral process that has pushed us to the limit.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary leadership, and not just of the political kind. As our chief strategy officer, Alison Omens, and our head of survey research, Jennifer Tonti, explore in an editorial in MarketWatch, business leaders also have an opportunity to play a key role in fostering trust in our democratic processes. Our polling shows a strong majority of Americans agrees that CEOs have a responsibility to advocate for a peaceful post-election period even without a clear winner on Election Day (62%), for a full and proper counting of ballots in the event of a contested election (62%), and for civil political discourse during the election period (57%). We also know that over 80% of Americans believe that a healthy democracy and healthy economy go hand in hand. Business, financial and civil society leaders can and must promote both.

Ultimately though, the defining challenge for the next American president will be the construction of a more just, stakeholder-based economy.

It is a powerful, unifying and healing vision that strikes at the heart of what Americans overwhelmingly want: good jobs, fair pay, a living wage, investments in communities, equity and inclusion, action on climate change, ethical leadership, and support for human rights. It cuts across political, economic, and racial lines. It will require government and business to find new ways to work together to get things done. And it will help generate the kind of economic recovery we so desperately need, without compromising our core values and beliefs.

With courage and leadership, including from the next occupant of the White House, it is within our grasp. As always, JUST will be there to help make it happen.

Be well,
Martin Whittaker

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

Boeing states that it will have to cut even more jobs in an effort to stem losses as coronavirus continues to roil the industry.

Citigroup announced a $2.5 billion affordable housing insurance bond, the largest of its kind.

Exxon Mobil lays off 15% of its workers, including 1,900 U.S. jobs, in order to keep its dividend.

JUST Events

Resilience Reimagined: CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity
November 10 from 12PM – 1PM ET
Join PolicyLink, FSG, and JUST Capital for a look at why companies must take this moment to significantly influence racial justice by redesigning their “business-as-usual” practices and policies. Sign up to participate in the conversation here.

Board Leadership in the Stakeholder Era –  Diversity Discovery
November 17 from 8AM to 9:30AM ET
Join NASDAQ and JUST Capital for part two a three-part series designed to engage corporate directors and executive leadership in a high level discussion about stakeholder performance. This week’s masterclass will explore board evaluation of diversity issues and metrics. Register for the session here.

What’s Happening at JUST

JUST Chief Strategy Officer Alison Omens and Managing Director of Survey Research & Insights Jennifer Tonti pen an editorial for MarketWatch, detailing how Americans want business leaders to protect voters and the voting process, especially in a contested election.

We explore key insights from Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, who shared what he’s learned about stakeholder capitalism during his time as the CEO of America’s Most JUST Company, in conversation at the Forbes JUST 100 Virtual Summit with Andrea Jung, JUST Board Member and CEO of Grameen America.

This week we also updated one of our most vital initiatives of 2020 – the COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker – to include all Russell 1000 companies we tracked, analyzed, and ranked this year.

Must-Reads of the Week

The Washington Post reports on the passage of a $15/hour minimum wage in Florida.

Business Insider takes a closer look at seven companies investing millions to retrain American workers to find better jobs amidst the pandemic.

Brookings released a report on the state of hazard pay for frontline workers, and how it has been rolled back, despite COVID-19 cases dramatically rising across the U.S. 

CNBC reports that, during the pandemic, men were promoted three times more than women – believed to be the result of increased domestic and childcare obligations for women during this time. Related, the Bipartisan Policy Center released a report on childcare gaps across 25 states.

Chart of the Week

This week, we look at the ROE of companies in our 2021 JUST 100, which have gone above and beyond to support their workforces over the past year, and demonstrate significant alpha relative to the average Russell 1000 company we rank.

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