2024 marks JUST Capital’s official 10th birthday. Hard to believe, I know. The time has flown by, even for those of us privileged to have been involved since the very beginning.
I could easily spend the next few paragraphs waxing philosophical about lessons learned and the impact we’ve created, but let’s do that another time. It’s January 5th and things are already well underway.
On January 1st we launched a major media campaign with Empower Media to elevate JUST’s brand and celebrate the leadership of top-performing companies. Hopefully you’ll encounter it firsthand on TV, radio, and online. And in exactly one month, on February 5th, we’ll be releasing the JUST 100 list as part of our 2024 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies with CNBC, ringing the closing bell of the Nasdaq, and hosting a JUST Leadership Summit with some high-profile guests and executives.
We’re also freshening up how we bring the Rankings to market. In addition to the release of the JUST 100, we’ll be curating exciting lists, thematic Rankings, and data-driven insights throughout the year. Simultaneously, work is underway on methodological updates to make future Rankings more dynamic, more real-time and more actionable than ever before.
Our work with companies is also being accelerated. We’re bringing our various programs work under one single Corporate Impact Lab umbrella to facilitate more collaborative approaches to applied research, dialogue and corporate action. And we’ll be launching new products for companies to benchmark themselves, analyze performance, and identify the ROI for investing in their stakeholders. Our new Index Concepts, covering key issues like just transition, career development, and job quality, will drive capital toward just leaders and provide a robust basis for one of our core tenets – that just business is also better for investors.
So…exciting times ahead. Please do reach out if you want to learn more about any of these plans or support our endeavors, and thanks in advance for being there alongside us. We couldn’t do it without you.
Happy New Year and Be Well,
JUST IN THE NEWS
JUST Capital Board Member Peter Georgescu pens an op-ed in Forbes that underscores how stakeholder capitalism drives long-term profitability, citing examples such as Costco and Home Depot, and other industry leaders that have seen real market value from investing in workers and communities.
A Harvard Business Review article highlighting emerging themes in global sustainability such as the growing importance of sustainability reporting, driven by regulations in the EU, Canada, and Germany, cites JUST Capital’s research on the importance of providing workers in companies’ supply chains a living wage.
JUST Advisor Susan McPherson writes for Fast Company on what to expect from sustainability and social impact in 2024, gathering insights from experts in the field and reinforcing the value of prioritizing workers and workforce-related issues.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Both my personal background as a Nigerian-American lawyer and mother as well as my professional experience with strategic cross-sector partnerships, corporate social impact strategy, and intersectional gender equity inform my work with JUST … There is a lot involved in demonstrating how certain investments can create long-term value for business and society while mitigating potential risks and negative consequences. I can’t wait to share what JUST has in store for next year and beyond.”
- Tolu Lawrence, JUST Capital’s recently named Chief Impact Officer, on her vision for 2024 and beyond. You can read her full interview here.
A Fast Company piece explores the potential implications of a recent lawsuit filed by The New York Times against OpenAI and Microsoft, claiming that the companies used its content without permission or compensation to train their AI models, such as ChatGPT and Bing Chat. An expert cited in the piece expects more lawsuits and licensing agreements to come in 2024.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly being deployed by researchers and companies to mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce emissions, NPR reports. Uses include harnessing the technology to prevent and control wildfires and help locate minerals required for climate solutions like solar panels and electric vehicles.
2023 saw an AI-fueled market boom for tech companies, where the Nasdaq Composite saw a 43% jump year over year – its second-best annual performance in 15 years. However, the new year has seen a more cautious outlook, with tech stocks, including major gainers from the previous year, experiencing marked declines, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A New York Times piece explores the rise of “new collar” jobs – a phrase coined by former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty to describe careers that require advanced skills but not necessarily advanced degrees.
The Harris Poll, in conjunction with the U.S. News & Global Report, releases its first Best Leaders survey, finding that Americans feel that good leaders are in short supply. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) Americans are “largely disappointed” by leaders in society today and added that they want more leaders to lead with honesty and put people first in their decisions.
After making public commitments following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, tech leaders at Google and Meta are cutting diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, according to CNBC. With fewer diverse voices represented as AI development scales up, the resulting products could be less accurate or more harmful to users, experts say.
A Wall Street Journal report highlights that 22 states are lifting their minimum wages, but many low-wage workers may not even notice due to robust private sector raises in recent years. Labor shortages during the pandemic and pressure from organized workers have led to increased hourly rates, surpassing the minimum wage in various states.
The New York Times’ DealBook newsletter dives into how Claudine Gay’s resignation as Harvard president is fueling debate around DEI in C-suites and boardrooms. In Fortune, Paradigm CEO Joelle Emerson pens an editorial on the rise of the anti-DEI movement and how companies should approach DEI work in light of it: “Instead of drawing a line in the sand, pro-DEI vs. anti-DEI, with us or against us, we should look for common values, consider how fairness can benefit everyone, and engage in meaningful dialogue.”
Climate scientists predict that El Niño patterns could bring record-breaking temperatures and dangerous weather events in 2024, The Washington Post reports. Related, The New York Times covers the biggest environmental stories that will dominate 2024, including America’s continuing fossil fuel production, new investments in solar power, and more.
CHART OF THE WEEK
This week’s chart comes from our 2023 Issues Report – The People’s Priorities. As in years past, JUST polling finds broad consensus across demographic and political cohorts – liberal, conservative, high-income, low-income, men, women, young generations, older generations, and white, Black, and Hispanic Americans – that Workers should be corporate America’s top stakeholder priority and nearly all cohorts agree that paying a fair, living wage should be the number-one issue to prioritize.