At JUST, we seek to uplift, promote, and support corporate leaders doing good for business and society. In certain instances though, we too must talk about corporate unjustness and its disastrous consequences.
In the case of Purdue Pharma and its collaborators, corporate unjustness has been linked to the direct or indirect deaths of over 1,000,000 Americans, including at least one family member of my own team.
This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a challenge to the bankruptcy deal meant to compensate victims of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin and shield Purdue Pharma’s owners, the Sackler family, from liability. The court’s decision will set precedent informing future bankruptcy settlements and civil liability implications for “non-debtor” business leaders.
Our research shows that the American people care deeply about accountability. JUST’s Issues Report finds that “Prioritizes accountability to all stakeholders” is the third-most important issue to the American public. Our Views on Business Survey also found that more than 8 in 10 Americans still believe that companies “often hide behind public declarations of support for stakeholders but don’t walk the walk.”
This week I invite every reader to think about one question: How do I act in ways that not only create and promote just behavior but prevent unjust behavior and hold responsible parties accountable?
We will continue to track corporate justness and invite you, as always, to partner with us.
JUST In the News
JUST releases its 2023 Issues Report – The People’s Priorities, finding that workers remain top of mind for the American public across a range of demographics. In a year marked by strikes and growing unionization, “pays a fair, living wage” remains that public’s top priority when it comes to just business behavior with “supports workforce retention, advancement, and training” gaining in importance. CNBC’s Pippa Stevens dives into more detail on Worldwide Exchange.
Martin speaks to The New York Times’ DealBook following last week’s DealBook Summit, weighing in on comments from Elon Musk on why he wanted to help create OpenAI and Jamie Dimon’s perspective on “major global issues, economic issues, social issues.”
In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling to end affirmative action in college and university admissions earlier this year, JUST examines how Russell 1000 companies are partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Of the 951 companies we ranked in 2023, 80 disclose financially supporting HBCUs and 66% of these companies sit in the top 20% of our Rankings.
Forbes speaks to Martin about the JUST model for change, highlighting the ultimate goal of our approach and our upcoming nationwide marketing campaign. “We want to create a race to the top for corporate America in creating value for all their stakeholders.”
Yahoo Finance also covers the launch of our first-ever national marketing campaign in partnership with Empower Media.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We need more people to believe American capitalism is working for them, not against them. With politics bereft of long-term vision and serving only to divide, the private sector must lead. An economy in which companies compete by creating value for all their stakeholders is a powerful uniting force.”
- JUST CEO Martin Whittaker answers the question “If you could change one thing about how the economy works, what would it be?” for The New York Times’ DealBook.
Politico looks at how tech companies are already beginning AI lobbying efforts in earnest, with staffers working on AI policy in the offices of key Congressmembers receiving money from a nonprofit funded by companies like Microsoft and Google.
Fortune reports on a new AI tool, supported by Sam Altman, that aims to support parents accessing paid parental leave by providing the technology “for parents to get their questions answered without risking job security.”
SAG-AFTRA actors vote in favor of a new, three-year contract with studios, despite some union members’ concerns around the agreement’s terms on AI. The New York Times reports that the new contract does not prohibit studios entirely from using “synthetic fakes” and creating an AI-generated character from multiple performers’ likenesses.
IBM SVP and Director of Research Darío Gil argues for greater collaboration in AI development and warns of the dangers in consolidation in a Fortune editorial.
In another instance of the year’s continuous tech layoffs, Spotify is eliminating 17% of its workforce – nearly 1500 employees – in order to reach its profitability goals in 2024 and 2025.
Quartz reports that a majority of restaurants are raising their wages faster than food prices, with wages increasing 66% on average compared to 48% for food costs.
Walmart becomes the latest major company to stop advertising with “X,” exacerbating the platform’s ad revenue shortfall. Mashable has the story.
With COP28, the UN’s annual climate conference, underway, The Washington Post takes a deeper look at some of the companies that announced major climate goals and how, with deadlines running out, many are failing to deliver on their promises. Related, Bloomberg reports that Bill Gates no longer believes that the world will be able to prevent global temperatures from rising by 2°C, the point laid out by many scientists as a threshold of no return from the worst impacts of global warming. CBS News reports on new findings confirming that 2023 will be the hottest year on record.
The Atlantic takes aim at the belief that millions of Americans are unhappy at work, laying out a compelling case for why all of those doom and gloom articles about the workforce may be nothing more than a repeated myth. Read the full story here.
Quartz looks into the rise of white-collar apprenticeships and how they can advance companies’ DEI goals and address the challenges of recruiting in a tight labor market.
CHART OF THE WEEK
This chart comes from our 2023 Issues Report – The People’s Priorities. According to our polling, these are the issues the American public is most concerned about when it comes to just business behavior. Worker issues dominate the majority of the top spots, but you can explore this trend and others in the full report, here.