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The JUST Report: “With Unity, We Can Do Great Things, Important Things”  

Jim Lo Scalzo – Getty Images

“Together we stand, divided we fall. Come on now people, let’s get on the ball and work together.” Canned Heat

America has a new President and its first female, first Black, and first South Asian American Vice President. Their first-100-day plan reads like an issue list from one of our focus groups: COVID-19, economic recovery, “Buy America,” Equity, Climate, Good Jobs, Healthy Communities, and more.

That the new government’s policy priorities mirror a framework for stakeholder capitalism is not a coincidence. Both come from the American people, and both address core issues the majority of Americans want fixed. The key now is for the government and the private sector to align on creative, solution-oriented ways on how to do that.

Our recent polling suggests that this is doable. And we know that business leaders in America are game to rethink how they can better meet society’s changing expectations. Unilever’s actions on living wage this week is the latest such move. The deluge of capital into ESG and stakeholder-oriented strategies will drive things forward and demand results in the form of both wealth creation and growth, as well as underlying societal impact. Incredibly, BlackRock’s client survey found that investors plan to double their sustainableassets under management in the next five years, from 18% today to an average of 35% by 2025.

The change in administration opens up a new frontier for stakeholder capitalism. The first 100 days will be critical. 

Be well,
Martin

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

Aldi, Instacart, Dollar General, and Whole Foods are all offering employees payment incentives to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Unilever vows that, by 2030, it will not do business with any firm or supplier that does not pay all of its employees a living wage.

Microsoft announces an investment and partnership on GM’s Cruise on self-driving cars. 

Moderna increased its vaccine output, promising to ship at least 600 million vaccines in 2021.

JUST Events

On Thursday, January 28, Yusuf George joins Judy Samuelson, Founder and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, for a conversation on how intangibles, such as reputation and trust, are beginning to have a greater impact on business value – particularly in these tumultuous times. Sign up at Net Impact.

On Monday January 25, Martin will be a guest speaker at BeWorks’ 2021 Choice Architecture Report Launch event, celebrating the ways companies can use behavioral science to improve their culture. Register to join the conversation.

What’s Happening at JUST

Martin joined Yahoo Finance TV this week to discuss our latest polling on what Americans expect from corporate leaders in the wake of the Capitol riot, and what CEOs’ responses signal for the future of stakeholder capitalism and ESG. Our growing list of corporate responses to the crisis was also highlighted in Barron’s, which posits that greater transparency around political donations will only heat up in the months ahead.

In an article delving into Apple’s new executive comp program, CNBC quotes JUST’s analysis, which shows that only 20% of Russell 1000 companies currently link executive pay to ESG goals. Martin commented on the growing trend, saying “Sometimes getting started is the hardest thing. We expect to see a lot more shareholder pressure on executive compensation.”

The Forum


Alex Wong, Getty Images

Somehow we weathered and witnessed
A nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished…
There is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it
if only we’re brave enough to be it.” 
 

— Excerpts from United States Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration poem,
“The Hill We Climb”

“With unity, we can do great things, important things.

Joseph Biden, 46th President of the United States

“I think we’re going into the great age of transparency, way beyond financials. You’re going to see more and more companies reporting out on ESG to demonstrate that they are trustworthy, that they are doing their part. In fact, transparency has become a very important boardroom topic — how transparent are we about data privacy, diversity, environment, net zero? That’s how we’ll know what’s happening inside the four walls of these organizations. That’s when then society will judge be able to judge whether we are doing enough.”

 — Tim Ryan, U.S. Chair of PwC 

 

Must-Reads of the Week

According to a new Harris Poll conducted with Empower Retirement and Personal Capital, 50% of Americans changed their investing strategy after the presidential election: “Pre-election, one out of every five dollars coming to us would go into socially responsible strategies. Post-election, it’s one in every three dollars.”

Scott Galloway of No Mercy/No Malice chronicles how the federal response to the economic crisis failed to actually help those who needed assistance the most.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the difficulty of regulating social media sites given their massive scale and reach, while Harvard Business Review suggests that social media companies need to self-regulate immediately or face crippling government intervention.

Business Insider reports that Joe Biden’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour won’t just help workers, but could save taxpayers $100 billion a year.

Forbes weighs the risks of corporations incentivizing COVID-19 vaccinations among their employees.

Enrique Lores – CEO of JUST 100 company HP – took to Fortune to discuss how he just became an American citizen, and why more immigrants like him need to be afforded the same opportunity.

 

Chart of the Week

This week, we updated our EEO-1 analysis to incorporate workforce demographic data released since mid-December by several corporations we track, and we found that DEI disclosure increased even over the holidays, and has more than doubled since 2019.

We’re trying some new things with the newsletter, and would love to hear what you think. Please send feedback to our editorial director, Rich Feloni, at rfeloni@justcapital.com.

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