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The JUST Report: Trust in Business is More Important Than Ever  

(Klaus Vedfelt – Getty Images)

In a new survey of 500 business leaders and 1,000 other members of the U.S. public, PwC found that in their roles as consumers and employees, respondents trust business more now than before the pandemic. And consumers, employees, and leaders agreed that the most important elements of trust right now are, in descending order: protecting data and cybersecurity, treating employees well, ethical business practices, and admitting to mistakes.

The report’s authors also noted that 88% of executives reported higher-than-normal turnover in recent weeks, which they tied to an increased demand for flexible work benefits and career growth opportunities, both of which have become much more attractive or necessary over the past year and a half.

As I discussed with Deepak Chopra during our incredible event yesterday honoring him as JUST’s first Chairman Emeritus, the future of the private sector’s role in our economy will be defined by whether businesses can truly create value for all their stakeholders. We look at a specific example of this in a new JUST article this week, examining how companies like Chipotle, Bank of America, and Hilton have developed recruiting and career development strategies for “opportunity youth,” 16-24 year olds disconnected from school and work. It’s one of many instances of companies linking their business goals with investment across stakeholders – in this case, filling entry-level positions while investing in communities where these companies operate.

As the trust premium grows, and with future ESG regulation looking more and more likely, the need to walk the talk and quantify this value creation process in a meaningful, transparent, and standardized way becomes evermore important. It’s why we are participating in the G7’s Impact Taskforce on the subject, and why we applaud efforts like Engine No. 1’s robust Total Value Framework, which also launched this week.

HP CEO Enrique Lores is one of those leaders at the forefront of this new era of business leadership, and I encourage you to sign up if you haven’t already for my discussion with him next week.

Be well,
Martin Whittaker​​​​​​

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

Amazon increases its starting wages to $18 an hour as it pushes to hire an additional 125,000 warehouse workers.

Cisco commits to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

HP, HPE, Intel, and Microsoft launch the HBCU Technology Conference to expand access to tech careers for students of color.

P&G aims to reach net-zero emissions across the company – and more importantly, its supply chain – by 2040.

Pepsi sets new goals to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, become net water positive by 2030, cut virgin plastic by 50%, and more.

Verizon prices out its third $1 billion green bond, making the company one of the largest renewable energy buyers in the U.S.

Walmart issues its first green bond at $2 billion toward green investments in renewable energy, high performance buildings, sustainable transport, zero waste, water stewardship, and habitat restoration.

 

JUST Events
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SEPTEMBER 21: Quarterly JUST Call with HP CEO Enrique Lores                                    
Join us for the latest installment of the Quarterly JUST Call (QJC) with HP CEO Enrique Lores. HP is a JUST 100 company that under Lores’ leadership, has created value for shareholders while excelling on climate action, diversity and inclusion, and digital equity. JUST CEO Martin Whittaker will explore each of these areas with Lores, and, since it is timed with Climate Week, pay special attention to HP’s latest environmental sustainability efforts. Sign up for the Quarterly JUST Call here.

SEPTEMBER 21: Corporate Climate Commitments: Lessons from Goal Setting & its Intersection with the American Public: Recent news has highlighted the need for urgent action on climate, and about two in three Americans now believe corporations have a growing role to play in combating climate change. Join our Research team during Climate Week for a panel discussion about net-zero and science-based climate commitments at America’s largest corporations. Register to watch here.

What’s Happening at JUST

Worker Financial Wellness Initiative participants Chipotle, PayPal, and Prudential Financial joined the Aspen Institute to discuss how they’ve invested in their workers’ financial security. The Wall Street Journal’s Lauren Weber moderated the discussion, which highlighted how this work has impacted the companies’ bottom lines and what employers currently struggling to hire might take away from their efforts. Our Worker Financial Wellness Initiative was also featured by LinkedIn News, alongside posts from Martin, PayPal, and more.

We highlighted key ways everyday investors can make better ESG decisions, with the help of firms and financial advisors, following Lorraine Wilson’s conversation with Morningstar Global Head of Sustainability Research Jon Hale and Seeds’ Founder and CEO Zach Conway. Watch the conversation here.

The Forum

(Chipotle)

“We see that the labor pool, and who knew this would happen even after the pandemic, that there’s a finite group of workers out there in the world. And so how can we go from always churning people to actually being in the business of creating talent for the future? So when we had big things like debt-free degrees as well as access to mental health benefits, when we wanted to introduce that, of course I would tell everybody ‘Make sure you have the business case.’ But, at the end of the day, if it’s aligned with the purpose of the company…it may get easy buy-in.” 

  • Marissa Andrada, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and People Officer at Chipotle, speaking to the importance of C-suite buy-in to the company’s investment in its employees’ financial well-being – and the positive financial impact it’s since seen.

“We believe this will make this process fair and respectful for every partner in Buffalo. It will ensure that all of you are afforded the voting rights, and the voice that you deserve in this process.”

“Paid family leave is something that our nonprofit partners are advocating for, making the child tax credit more permanent. Philanthropy is not just on the side of things, but it’s right in-line with how we do our business because it’s trying to change some of the structural issues…to get to the point where it’s not just about our own employees and customers.” 

 

Must-Reads of the Week

The Conference Board releases a comprehensive new report on CEO Pay at the Russell 3000 and S&P 500 showing how soaring stock prices bolstered pay in the last year. The EconomicPolicy Institute shares its latest analysis finding that CEO pay has skyrocketed 1,322% since 1978 and that CEOs were paid 351 times as much as a typical worker in 2020.

Engine No. 1 continues to make waves: Reuters reports on the group’s new Total Value Framework for investing that aims to tie company valuations to climate and societal impact.

The Washington Post reports that Harvard will officially divest entirely from fossil fuels, and explores what this means for a new wave of climate activism. The Verge reports that Jeff Bezos’ Earth Fund has pledged an additional $150 million to climate justice groups.

The Wall Street Journal deepens its investigation into failings at Facebook, including a look into the company’s own research into teen mental health issues as well as how misinformation, toxicity, and violent content increased after changes to its algorithm.

Refinitiv releases its annual Diversity & Inclusion Top 100, with Gap earning the top spot.

CNBC launches Equity and Opportunity, a new global brand that focuses on individuals and organizations leading the way on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.



Chart of the Week

This week’s chart comes from our latest polling report, showing how the pandemic has affected parents and caregivers, with 82% of respondents hearing of others, or personally experiencing, increased childcare costs throughout the last year and a half.

 

 

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