For the past forty years or so, CEOs in America have said they had a fiduciary duty to shareholders to maximize profits. But in a major shift this week nearly 200 top CEOs – including the likes of Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, Tim Cook of Apple, Larry Fink of Blackrock and Michael Wirth of Chevron – publicly acknowledged that maximizing profits in all situations can’t necessarily be the main goal of corporations; they pointed to a corporation’s duties to their customers, to their suppliers, and to their communities, in addition to their duties to shareholders. This opens the door for social responsibility to become at least a piece of the larger puzzle that informs corporate decision making. While this may simply be a reflection that social responsibility has been good for business, profits and shareholders in recent years, we believe this letter demonstrates that corporate America is beginning to respond the influence of ESG investors and the public, political and regulatory voices that have been moving in the same direction.
Read the letter here: