Carolyn Berkowitz, President and CEO
While the outcome of the presidential election is still undecided, there is one thing that is perfectly clear: we are a deeply divided nation. Even more so than I think many of us predicted. What does that mean for leaders in corporate citizenship? It means your job just got more complicated, and more important.
Regardless of who will be the victorious candidate, we will live in gridlock. The past 12 years has shown us that it is very difficult to enable effective policy change in this divisive climate. Companies must fill the void, making the job of the social and environmental impact engineer especially challenging. My advice? Stay the course…or when possible, double down on your company’s 2020 declarations. Here’s why:
1. Your company made a commitment to racial equity, and whether the movement continues to build steam, you have an obligation to your stakeholders to effect change. The diversity of your workforce is vital for success. Emerging generations of employees and customers expect that your companies can be trusted to lead. Whether or not the language of equity is acceptable to those in elected office, it is critical to help deepen your stakeholders’ understanding of the historic and current injustices that continue to claim the lives of Blacks, immigrants and other people of color.
2. The journey to achieve carbon neutrality and sustainability is critical for business continuity, economic growth, and stakeholder value for your company. Whether or not the regulatory environment becomes tougher, more relaxed, or yo-yo’s, companies must remain diligent.
3. Sustainable economic progress requires patience and a long-term perspective. Your work in education, healthcare, and workforce equity is vital for the communities in which you do business to thrive.
We will be glued to our TVs and the internet for days, maybe weeks, to come. But don’t let the outcome change your direction. No matter who is announced President, it is more important than ever for companies to step up and lead.