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Case Study: Should Companies Take a Stance On Social Issues?

Over the past two years, companies have been under immense pressure to take a stance on various social and political issues. From Black Lives Matter, immigration, gun reform, and most recently, reproductive rights, employees and customers are now more than ever expecting companies to release a statement addressing these issues. The Edelman Trust Barometer found that 54% of employees think CEOs should publicly speak out about political and social issues they care about. Similarly, 53% of customers believe that companies are responsible for getting involved in at least one social issue that doesn’t directly impact the business.

Companies have taken stances on various issues since 2020, but not every company has spoken out about every social and political issue.

Share of companies that have taken a public stance on social issues since 2020

Reproduced from The Conference Board

It’s important to remember that while many companies may not release a public statement, they may address it internally depending on the situation. For example, following the Supreme Court ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, only 10% of companies responded with public statements, but over 50% have addressed it internally. This is a good indication of how companies are acting on the ruling. Instead of making public donations to organizations, they ensure that their employees are taken care of if they need to access care that is no longer available in their state.

Companies and executives are faced with an extreme amount of pressure from customers and employees to respond to these issues. Still, they have to remember that publicly speaking out on every issue isn’t always necessary.


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