“Making the digital economy work for everyone everywhere requires tackling some of society’s most basic problems. … This isn’t just an issue of philanthropy or corporate social responsibility, as important as those are. This is about businesses achieving commercially sustainable social impact, aligning their business models and products and services with broader social and economic imperatives. This is not at odds with delivering shareholder returns, but the means by which to do so. This is part of a long-standing commitment at Mastercard to do well by doing good, a sentiment which I believe most CEOs agree with, as the recent statement from my colleagues at the Business Roundtable also demonstrates. Growth is not sustainable if it is not inclusive. Financial inclusion is just the first step.”
Ajay Banga, “Mastercard CEO: How to Make the Digital Economy Work for Everyone”

Fortune, 8/23/1
“The influential Business Roundtable’s new purpose for corporations reflects the global search for less-material definitions of progress. The search itself is progress. … Instead of a sole focus on maximizing profits and share prices, stated the influential Business Roundtable, corporations must now deliver value to a range of constituencies, such as employees, local communities, and society writ large, not just the owners who have risked their money. … In other words, instead of corporations being merely value driven – as in the legal obligation for financial returns to investors – they must also be values driven, for example in being accountable for their actions to a wider range of interests. The twin goals reflect a sophisticated balancing of what are often seen as competing forces.”

The Editorial Board, “Why corporations redefine progress”

“The American dream is alive, but fraying. Major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term. These modernized principles reflect the business community’s unwavering commitment to continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans.”

Business Roundtable, “Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans'”

“This new statement better reflects the way corporations can and should operate today. It affirms the essential role corporations can play in improving our society when CEOs are truly committed to meeting the needs of all stakeholders.”

Business Roundtable, “Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans'”

“An important shift may be under way in corporate America. The largest US business group has replaced the long-held view that maximising shareholder value is the defining corporate goal with a more inclusive vision that takes account of other stakeholders. Explicitly elevating broader interests such as those of employees, the environment and customers is intended to set a new standard for companies across the US. This welcome, wider approach to corporate purpose should create a more sustainable and inclusive form of capitalism. … A new corporate purpose has the chance to generate wealth more sustainably and to share prosperity more evenly.”

The Editorial Board, “Business must act on a new corporate purpose”

“CEOs work to generate profits and return value to shareholders, but the best-run companies do more. They put the customer first and invest in their employees and communities. In the end, it’s the most promising way to build long-term value.”

Business Roundtable, “Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’”

“‘Evolve or die,’ wrote hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio in a manifesto published in April titled ‘Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed.’ With each passing month, more business executives have been joining this unlikely crusade to save capitalism from itself. The loudest reform call yet from inside the system came this week from the Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of 192 of the nation’s largest companies. … Business leaders seem to recognize the crisis: The system isn’t delivering. … The corporate panic about capitalism could be a turning point, opening the way for a future president to begin fixing the problems of stagnant wages and inequality that are at the core of America’s disarray.”

David Ignatius, “Corporate panic about capitalism could be a turning point”

“I welcome this thoughtful statement by Business Roundtable CEOs on the Purpose of a Corporation. By taking a broader, more complete view of corporate purpose, boards can focus on creating long-term value, better serving everyone – investors, employees, communities, suppliers and customers.”

Business Roundtable, “Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’”

“In the Roundtable’s new formulation of corporate purpose, delivering value to customers, investing in employees, dealing fairly and honestly with suppliers, supporting communities and protecting the environment all have equal billing with generating long-term value for shareholders. … Skeptics will likely see the announcement by the country’s leading corporate executives as a public relations gimmick that will do little to change the way American corporations are managed. But the significance is not so much that it will change corporate behavior, but rather that it confirms a shift in attitude that has already occurred. … [B]usiness leaders feel some urgency to re-engage in the public debate. By disavowing shareholder primacy and embracing a broader vision of corporate purpose, the Roundtable has now enhanced the political legitimacy of such efforts.”

Steven Pearlstein, “Top CEOs are reclaiming legitimacy by advancing a vision of what’s good for America”

“Left-wing columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel called the statement a ‘sudden burst of conscience’ and ‘a concession that corporations have failed to serve the public good.’ Critics on the right see the statement as a concession to the left, too — and deplore it accordingly. … But the Roundtable’s statement isn’t so much a concession that corporations need to change their ways as it is a description of what they already do. … ‘Businesses play a vital role in the economy by creating jobs, fostering innovation and providing essential goods and services,’ the group says. That sounds a lot like saying that corporations … serve the public good. … Companies are complex social institutions with many purposes. … The executives want to defend free enterprise. But will that defense be more successful if it is done in the name of a conception of business that is both simplistic and not even believed by business leaders themselves? The country’s leading CEOs have given their answer, and it’s hard to disagree.”

Ramesh Ponnuru, “Serve the Community? Companies Always Have”

Bloomberg, 9/4/19
“This is not a novel position for the Business Roundtable but a rediscovery of its original position. It is also not a revolutionary set of principles for U.S. business leaders but the return to collective voice by this formal association. The founding generation of the Business Roundtable, the ‘Great Generation’ or the ‘soldier generation’ of World War II possessed sweeping noble visions … While we have seen courageous responsible actions by business leaders, individually and in groups, the formal associations have been dormant and defensive on this front. … The BRT’s founding generation would be thrilled the BRT has re-found its voice.”

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, “With ‘Stakeholder’ Edict, Will Business Roundtable Catch Up With CEOs?”

“The statement from the leaders of companies including JPMorgan Chase, Apple, Amazon and Walmart affirms that the nation’s largest companies have a ‘fundamental commitment’ to all their stakeholders: putting employees, suppliers and communities on a pedestal that once belonged only to shareholders. … The companies’ statement is a significant shift and a welcome one.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin, “How Shareholder Democracy Failed the People”

“On Aug. 19, 2019, something seismic happened. The Business Roundtable, a powerful business coalition, redefined the purpose of the corporation. … The Business Roundtable announcement meant something very personal to me as well. Now I have a better way to advocate for young people to consider a career in business. Sure, I know many millennials who frown at the thought of joining a corporation. But I also know others who are finding truly meaningful work. … For any young person or individual re-thinking their career, please take a moment to read the Business Roundtable announcement. Then, give business a second look.”

Sally Susman, “’You’re going to need a cleanse’: How Pfizer’s Sally Susman was criticized for choosing a corporate career”

NBC News, 8/25/19
“This is tremendous news because it is more critical than ever that businesses in the 21st century are focused on generating long-term value for all stakeholders and addressing the challenges we face, which will result in shared prosperity and sustainability for both business and society.”

Business Roundtable, “Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’”

“For the past two decades, the official stance of America’s top corporate executives has been that the interests of shareholders came before the interests of all others—workers, consumers, the cities and towns in which their companies operated, and society as a whole. Today, that changes. … It is, without question, a huge deal. … Words matter. The words of the Roundtable—a Who’s Who of those at the helm of the largest U.S. corporations, from Abbott to Zebra Technologies—matter a lot.”

Rick Wartzman, “America’s top CEOs say they are no longer putting shareholders before everyone else”

Fast Company, 8/19/19
“Corporate America is going through a sea change in terms of how the core purpose of business is defined. We applaud the Business Roundtable’s leadership on this issue and their embrace of the stakeholder ethos in which businesses are committed to greater shared prosperity for all Americans. We look forward to working with them and all corporations to bring this vision to life.”

Martin Whittaker, “America’s Most Influential CEOs: ‘It’s Time to Put Customers, Employees, and Communities First”

JUST Capital, 8/19/19