CEOs Have an Opportunity to Do More Than “Speak Out”

by David Yee, Associate, CEO Engagement, CECP
Jun 17, 2020 11:00 AM ET

Over the years, it has become increasingly common for CEOs to speak out publicly on social issues including and now, more than ever, that’s just what the public is demanding. According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, 92% of respondents agree it is important for their CEO to speak out on issues including training for jobs of the future, income inequality, diversity, equity, and inclusion and climate change, among others. Brands, and their CEOs, are uniquely positioned to build trust with customers through addressing social issues, ultimately allowing customers to support causes through their buying power.

With diversity, equity, and inclusion being top of mind for executives, and stakeholders increasingly calling for CEOs to speak out on key issues, it’s no surprise to see messages from companies and their leadership addressing the heinous, racist acts that persist in our country. CEOs of PayPal and DICK’S Sporting Goods both referred to their corporate values when making their decisions to speak out. The wave of advocacy condemning racism can be attributed to years of progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion, stakeholder demand for company leadership to be vocal, assumed moral obligation, and corporate purpose—with much work left to be done.

At one of CECP’s recent virtual CEO Roundtables, an executive mentioned the many inequalities that exist in society being exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Another CEO spoke about the rapid decline of trust in businesses. Companies have arrived at a turning point. They have the opportunity to regain the trust of stakeholders by taking the lead, and not waiting for government action, to address inequity in society. Advocacy from leadership is a start, but tangible strategies will propel companies forward. CECP is undertaking a listening tour to gather the actions steps needed and share them widely to encourage meaningful actions today and over the long term. How is your company acting?

Read the full post on the CECP Insights blog: