Published 4 years ago.
About a 5 minute read.
Image: Bud Helisson
By leaning into its data, tirelessly communicating the value of policy
transparency at the corporate level, and providing unbiased reporting to the US workforce and consumer, JUST Capital is flipping the narrative on capitalism.
Inclusivity, equitability and rebuilding often describe Detroit,
this year’s home to our annual flagship conference — June 3-6. But to Michelle
Mullineaux, Managing Director of Marketing at JUST
Capital, these are table stakes for businesses
to survive, as laid out by the US workforce.
JUST Capital, a nonprofit charity born from the crisis of capitalism, is a
platform for corporate transparency. Measuring and ranking corporations based on
the issues most meaningful to the US public, JUST Capital is empowering people
with information aligned with their values.
We caught up with Mullineaux to get a deep dive into why SB’19
Detroit is a great fit for JUST
and why it’s a win-win to create ‘just’ jobs.
Next month in Detroit, Mullineaux will moderate a discussion with three
corporate leaders from diverse sectors (all ranking highly on the newly
published JUST 100
Mullineaux sees this panel as proof that aligning public values with business
practices benefits all.
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“This is what America wants to see from corporations and leader,” she says.
“They want a balanced model, not a one-size-fits-all approach. UPS’s
environmental focus is outstanding, Humana leads in worker investment, and
Campbell’s gives back to their community. Our rankings are transparent. We
want people to put that power behind their dollar; we make our tools and
findings accessible for free, because we want business practices to truly align
with the priorities of the American public.”
In its annual survey of 10,000 US consumers, JUST found that the public’s
priorities comprise a broad set of issues. Nine of those rise to the top for the
country’s workforce, and JUST annually collects independent and unbiased data on
each. But getting the public to discuss tuition reimbursement, benefits
packages, career development and day care services (4 of the 9 worker-centric
issues) is easy compared to corporate transparency, it seems. According to
Mullineaux, many corporations are reticent to disclose where they are in all 9
areas, because they feel their narrative isn’t perfect, they are still a work in
progress, or may not even have the policy to disclose.
“Only 2 percent of the companies in our report disclose information on all 9
areas. This is a sad state of disclosure. But the ROE (return on equity) is
— corporations that are disclosing their information are outperforming those
that don’t,” Mullineaux asserted. “We see the power in taking the risk. And
corporations need to have the ‘journey’ mindset — they don’t need to be perfect
on day one.”
With corporations in a constant race for talent, aligning and disclosing their
policies may be the fastest way to win that race. As Mullineaux notes, the
transparency of, and policies on, issues most valuable to workers is about a
decade behind that of environmental issues. However, discussions are happening.
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission Investor Advisory Council
to the importance of applying human capital disclosure requirements on
public companies. With 86 percent of companies disclosing diversity and
equal-opportunity policies, but only 11 percent disclosing their targets, there
is much work to be done, and those requirements could have great impact on JUST
Capital’s work. Mullineaux does see companies embracing transparency more
readily and holding leadership’s feet to the fire, though; with the tech
as one of the loudest voices talking about the social issues.
While tech has been a leading voice in the conversation, Mullineaux stresses the
stability of the nine issues across industries and demographics. There are no
new trends or values breaking into the top issues, and there are no issues more
valuable to one subset of the workforce than others. No industry exponentially
outweighs another in its transparency, and people in the US are unified in their
priorities, according to the JUST Capital data — that cohesion is a powerful
message to corporations. Mullineaux also points out that some issues one might
expect to be polarizing or politicized, are not.
What the US public is asking for, according to JUST Capital’s data, is the key
to debunking shareholder capitalism, which has broken the system and left too
many behind. It’s an intuitive and clear model, but without corporate buy-in —
the sharing of information on these key issues — the model doesn’t work.
Mullineaux stays positive, though, and believes it is a huge mind shift for US
business practices. As the Win-Win of JUST
“Americans agree that leadership and transparency around worker issues are
imperative to just business, and we believe companies can demonstrate the proof
behind their purpose through additional disclosure on these issues.”
‘Proof behind purpose’ is where JUST Capital’s value lies. Its focus on the “S”
in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) covers worker issues; and the
overall reporting of JUST goes further, covering environmental and leadership
policies, as well. By leaning into the data, tirelessly communicating the value
of policy transparency at the corporate level, and providing unbiased reporting
to the US workforce and consumer, JUST Capital is flipping the narrative on
Looking ahead to connecting with her tribe in Detroit next month, Mullineaux
says she sees inclusivity, equitability and rebuilding not just inspiring
attributes of Detroit, but as the foundation of a ‘just’ world for the worker,
the consumer and the corporations to transform business as a force for good.
Published May 10, 2019 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Alison Ferolo has over a decade of content creation and brand storytelling experience; most recently focused on the cultural shift toward a more sustainable and responsible future.