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Article

30 Jun 2020

Author:
Aaron K. Chatterji & Michael W. Toffel, Harvard Business Review,
Author:
Aaron K. Chatterji & Michael W. Toffel, Harvard Business Review

USA: CEO statements on race & police misconduct are important, but now corporate political power is needed to pass legislation

"What CEOs Still Haven’t Said About Race and Policing", 18 Jun 2020

Many CEOs have spoken out...to share their thoughts on race and police misconduct in America. What would have been extraordinary... a few years ago — a corporate leader weighing in on a divisive political issue — has ... become expected... But CEOs have yet to advocate for policy solutions for police reform, focusing instead on their own... values. Corporate statements...have explicitly rejected racism and discrimination (Coca-Cola), condemned intolerance and harassment (Boeing), and recommitted... to build more... inclusive [corporate] culture (BlackRockIBM). Some...including Kenneth Frazier, [CEO] of Merck, and Mark Mason, [CEO] of Citi [drew] on their own experiences as Black men in America. Such statements can be important declarations of purpose and intent. However, [they] ... won’t be enough to reform... With... Congress unveiling new legislation... there are already calls to do more. [S]takeholders will call on them to deploy their political firepower...to pass contentious legislation... But how many CEOs will work to change the system by advocating for bodycam mandates, chokehold bans, [etc.] suggested by Campaign Zero8 Can’t Wait, or the Justice in Policing Act? Will they write supportive op-eds... - or align their political spending to pressure legislators to pass...bills? [C]corporations... already spend billions of dollars at all levels of government advocating... The challenge is that very few companies have a direct economic stake in the success of the movement... While a more inclusive and just society could drive long-term economic growth, this year’s profits will not rise or fall based on the success of police reform efforts. The only way companies will prioritize fighting... against systemic racism will be if their employees, customers, and investors demand it and hold them accountable... [Refers to Toyota]... 

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