Founded in 2014, JUST Capital was a pioneer in focusing on the benefits of stakeholder-driven capitalism at the highest levels of business and government. Beyond providing tools, information and licensing data to investors and others interested in evaluating organizations based on their levels of stakeholder engagement, its goal is to have a seat at the table at the highest levels of government, business, and the media to break through the barriers to what its founders believe is a better form of Capitalism.
If the concepts of Stakeholder Capitalism go beyond the current state of conversation into widespread use, JUST Capital
will have played a major role. Founded in 2014 by billionaire hedge fund owner Paul Tudor Jones II, JUST Capital came from the idea of a student expressed at a program with Deepak Chopra, the wellness and spiritual advisor and author, who passed it on to Jones: why can’t Capitalism be reformed to be a source of good?
The mission, says Alison Omens
, Chief Strategy Officer: “build a stakeholder-driven economy and stakeholder-driven form of Capitalism. We are trying to change Capitalism to be more just and inclusive.” To do so, JUST Capital is aiming for the top, to have a role in public policy and how the rules are written to break down the barriers to a stakeholder focus in Capitalism. “Our goal is to change expectations and norms. What does leadership mean and how do we redefine its role? We use our data, research, and other platforms to tell our story to convince boards, investors, CEOs, and those who are in the business media to ask a different set of questions.”
Workers First, Then Communities and Customers…
Since 2015, the organization says it has surveyed “more than 110,000 Americans on what they believe US companies should prioritize most when it comes to just business behavior.” Its full body of survey work in 2020 is supported with eight focus groups conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll and various online surveys, it adds. According to the most recent results, the biggest priorities are: workers, 41%; communities 21%, customers, 15%, shareholders, 15%, environment, 9%.
Out of this data, the company has created a rating system
for 1,000 largest public companies based on its organization’s poll to identify the issues that matter most to Americans along with a further analysis of these companies’ practices based on those principles. The information is licensed to other organizations, including a Goldman Sachs JUST Capital ETF
, that has risen about 15% since its inception in June 2018. The top three top-ranked companies in the index are Microsoft, Nvidia, and Apple.
Using the data from its surveys and the influence of its founders, the organization’s strategy includes getting on television and other media and to have a seat at the table related to public policy on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. This involves having input into “how the rules are written” related to workplace and related factors. A particular focus now is on financial health and security and racial equity.
More Disclosures Are Critical
JUST Capital has joined the growing ranks of organizations calling for companies to release EEOC 1 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) numbers on employee composition, “but that’s part of what we’re focused on: Defining and focusing on what people mean to an organization and how do you measure it.” She adds, “Organizations need to get beyond just signaling their intentions to providing meaningful information.”
Stakeholder Capitalism: 1 ½ on a Scale of 10
So where does she believe the nation is on the path to true Stakeholder Capitalism? “We are about a 1 ½ out of 10. If you think about building movements, the first movers are always the ones who have to stick their necks out. We have to make it easier and more compelling to join the movement than not to.”
There are still rules and laws that need to support stakeholder leaders, she adds, “and so the dialogue in Washington will be important. We also need to get more concrete with clear definitions about leadership on ESG issues. And, of course, we need investors to see the value of taking this approach.”
JUST Capital started emphasizing the term “Stakeholder Capitalism” in 2019 after the Business Roundtable changed the charter of the corporation to include the interests of all stakeholders. “I don't know that the term "Stakeholder Capitalism
" needs to be a household name, but the ideas need to be a household concept--businesses prioritizing their workers and other stakeholders. Capitalism can be beyond making a profit, etc. I think the next five years are absolutely critical because we're emerging from the pandemic, people are looking to business leaders to be societal leaders, and there's a real expectation of change and innovation.” It’s a cause, her organization’s surveys say, Americans on all sides can agree on.
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For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.