Week of 17 August 2020
A survey of 2,000 Americans found that, while companies are viewed as having an equal responsibility to all of their stakeholders, over half of respondents don’t believe companies are having a positive impact on workers. Corporations are perceived to be having the greatest negative impacts on the environment, workers’ financial well-being, and workers’ health and well-being (JUST Capital)
On the one-year anniversary of the Business Roundtable statement on the purpose of a corporation, JUST Capital and its survey research partner The Harris Poll issued the results of a survey asking Americans “how they believe companies are doing in shifting from a myopic focus on shareholders to better serving the needs of all stakeholders.” The poll was conducted online between July 20-22, 2020 among 2,003 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. The 2019 data was provided by YouGov in September 2019 (shortly after the Business Roundtable statement was released) and included 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older.
Top-line results of the survey are as follows:
1. Perceptions of companies’ positive impacts have increased since last year.
- “90% of Americans agree that it’s important for large companies to promote an economy that serves all Americans, and 58% say that large companies are doing well on follow-through – an increase of more than 10 percentage points from their evaluation of companies just one year ago.”
2. While most people believe that companies have an equal responsibility to all of their stakeholders, less than half believe that companies have a positive impact on workers while almost three-quarters believe that companies have a positive impact on their shareholders.
- 80% of Americans believe that “large, public companies have a nearly equal responsibility to consider their impact on all their stakeholders.” However, “72% believe companies have a positive impact on shareholders, while only 47% believe companies have a positive impact on the financial well-being of workers.”
3. Americans believe that corporations are having the greatest negative impacts on the environment, and the financial and health well-being of their employees.
- “While 56% of Americans believe that companies are having a more positive impact on the health of their workforce, only 47% believe that companies are having a positive impact on the financial well-being of workers, especially the lowest-paid.”
- Americans believe that corporations have the highest negative impacts on the environment (37%), the financial well-being of their workers (32%), and the health and well-being of their workers (24%).