To fill a moral void in Washington, CEOs have warned of threats to democracy and announced commitments aimed at addressing racial inequality. Many have publicly made clear their stance on Trump’s approach to the climate and immigration crisis.
There is a new administration in the White House, and on a number of political fronts, President Joe Biden and American companies are more aligned. But when it comes to thinking about the role their companies play in society, business leaders should not revert to their old ways.
“[This] It becomes an opportunity to continue that self-reflection, ”Deepak Malhotra, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, told me.
Why it matters: The public increasingly depends on companies to make the right advocacy on political and social issues. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer released earlier this month, the business has replaced the government as the most trusted institution during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the wake of the riots by Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, a survey by Geoffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management found that 96% of those surveyed believed Trump should be removed from office.
Sonnenfeld told me that these same leaders now have a role to play as the impeachment process begins. The trial in the Senate is due to begin on February 9th.
“I think they should continue to push for formal and informal accountability,” Sonnenfeld said. “Our government system is a big reason for their business to succeed – and they know it.”
Then there are the looming debates on issues like climate. For the past four years, companies have grown accustomed to taking the lead as the Trump administration unravels.
“Business was outpacing the government by a wide margin all of a sudden,” Malhotra said.
One given: companies will be forced to continue to actively participate in social issues just to change consumer tastes. As made clear after the police murder of George Floyd last summer, which triggered millions of protesters, young customers are increasingly demanding that the brands they support are due to causes like Black Lives Matter; Workers demand the same from their employers.
“Companies have had to deal with these issues, not precisely because of President Trump, but because of what was happening on the streets, in the communities, and in their workforce,” Malhotra said.
Watch this space: Usually, the role of companies in society will be discussed over the next week in the Swiss Alps as CEOs meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This year, it is not surprising that the January issue of the World Economic Forum is an all-digital affair, although the group hopes to hold a personal event in Singapore in the summer.
Talks on the topic, which includes leaders like BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. Watch before the bell for illuminations.
Is the iPhone 5G sold by Apple? We’re about to find out
Wall Street was counting on the iPhone 12 sales surge to boost Apple’s profits. This week, investors will learn whether these expectations come true.
Apple announces its earnings after the US market closes on Wednesday. With the company’s inventory up by 75% over the past year – and partly due to expectations about iPhone 12 land sales – this will be a major market event.
Much depends on demand from China, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives, focusing on any comments about the return of the Chinese economy.
“China remains a key component of Apple’s recipe for success, as we estimate that approximately 20% of iPhone upgrades will come from this region over the next year,” Ives said in a recent customer note.