In the past, the chief executives of America's largest companies hid behind associations like the US Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable to advocate for or against issues to avoid retribution from their employees or customers for advocating for or against certain issues. In fact, being a part of a trade association was and still is a very legitimate way to lobby Congress or a state legislature.
Today, however is a different day and our employees and customer are asking our CEO's to speak up and speak out. So it was no surprise when the businesses leaders resigned their posts with the President's business advisory councils including the American Manufacturing Council, Strategy and Policy Forum and arts council.
Despite the defections, corporations are still advancing their agenda, including the rollback of certain environmental regulations, changes to the tax code, tariffs and trade deals such as NAFTA. At the same time, companies are starting to lean in and speak out on issues of diversity and inclusion, race and other issues that are more personal and at times partisan.
Corporate activism is notnew. Companies divested from South Africa during the apartheid. Then companies started providing benefits to partners of LGBTQ employees.
Investors are also starting to invest in socially responsible companies. Companies that are known for its environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda or value base of operating their company.
Fidelity Investments last year introduced its International Sustainability Index Fund, Companies are starting to take a position on issues and starting to drive the agenda publicly. They are filling a void that our government is not fulfilling and they using their position to make powerful change.