COVID-19 is accelerating stakeholder capitalism

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: James M. Loree, Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Black & Decker

  • Stakeholder capitalism is a critical strategic shift needed for corporations to stay relevant and engaged in today’s world of accelerating ESG change.
  • Companies proved their agility during the pandemic, stepped up to take care of their customers and employees, and not only survived but thrived.
  • We need to stop debating whether stakeholder capitalism makes sense – and instead embrace the progress the private sector has built and continue to accelerate.

It seemed a monumental milestone was reached in August 2019 when more than 180 CEOs signed the Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation and committed to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.

Fast forward nearly two years and a global pandemic brings you quickly to the realisation that stakeholder capitalism is an urgent imperative – a critical strategic shift that is required for corporations to stay relevant and engaged in today’s world of accelerating environmental, social and governance (ESG) change.

Keeping the world running

During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses engaged with society and government to keep the world running. Industrial companies applied their mass-manufacturing know-how to make much-needed medical equipment. 3M pivoted from post-it notes to making masks; GM to building ventilators. Pharmaceutical companies accelerated vaccine development, and businesses across industries accelerated distribution by rolling out onsite COVID-19 vaccines.

At Stanley Black & Decker, we implemented critical safety protocols and guided our employees on how to keep themselves and their families safe during this time. We distributed more than 70 million masks to employees to share with their families and community members. We more than tripled our charitable contributions in 2020, donating more than $22 million to COVID-19 relief funds globally, nationally and locally, and awarded over 4,500 employee relief grants related to COVID-19.

We also established a global, company-wide COVID-19 Community Response Task Force to innovate and save lives, which included a partnership with Ford, 3M and DEWALT to produce 40,000 Portable Air Purifying Respirators within three weeks, impacting a million lives.

Companies proved their agility during the pandemic, stepped up to take care of their customers and employees, and not only survived, but thrived. And many continue to build on that momentum.

In June 2021, Business Roundtable members acted on the commitment to break down barriers to economic opportunity in the US, and to promote racial equity and justice in communities of colour who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon, for instance, launched its Black Business Accelerator with a $150 million commitment to build equity and sustainable growth for Black-owned businesses. This initiative will provide financial support, business education and mentorship, and marketing and promotion of their brands and products as third-party sellers on

Best Buy committed to spend $1.2 billion with BIPOC and diverse businesses by 2025, including improving how it brings goods and services to stores, its supply chain partners, and where and how it advertises. The goal is to create a stronger community of diverse suppliers and to help increase BIPOC representation in the tech industry.

And Coca-Cola North America announced plans to nearly double its spending with minority-owned media companies over the next three years. For more information on the Business Roundtable racial equity and justice initiatives, click here.

It’s about ESG, for sure, but a strategy to do good by being good is rooted in purpose and grounded in stakeholder capitalism.

Stanley Black & Decker started our purpose journey when I became CEO five years ago in recognition of the changing expectations that stakeholders have of corporations, the rapid adoption of technology and the accelerating pace of technological change, and the challenges of governments and other institutions to keep up with the pace of change without help from agile and resourceful corporations. Our purpose and our people-centred culture enable us to recruit the best talent, retain it, innovate in exponential ways, and position the organization to constantly move forward with agility in a rapidly changing world.

2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: A World in Trauma Image: Edelman

A boost in public trust

The importance of stakeholder capitalism was obvious during the pandemic and business received a boost in public trust, according to Edelman’s Global Trust Barometer data. Business is now more trusted than government, media and nonprofits, and is the only one of the four institutions that’s viewed as both competent and ethical.

According to Edelman’s “2021 Trust Barometer Spring Update: A World in Trauma”, business outperforms government on key societal challenges: driving economic growth and job creation, responding to the health and public safety aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, guarding information quality, and addressing systemic inequities. What’s more, employees have emerged as the most important stakeholder, as 40% of respondents rank a company’s workers as most important to its long-term success. Nearly 8 in 10 employees expect their companies to act on societal issues, such as vaccine hesitancy (84%), climate change (81%) and automation (79%).

Against this backdrop of public trust, there is no question of who is best poised to carry the mantle on societal issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has issued a clarion call to business to step up – from climate change, to racial justice and equity, to vaccination access, and more.

It’s high time we stopped debating whether stakeholder capitalism makes sense – and instead embrace the progress the private sector has built and continue to accelerate.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

4 innovative renewable energy projects powering Europe’s green future

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

Is your smart home as safe as you think?

45th Anniversary of the French Confederation (Confédération Nationale des Junior Entreprises)

A Europe that delivers: EU citizens expect more EU level action in future

Islamophobia is driving more US Muslims to become politically engaged, suggests report

MEPs condemn attacks on civilians, including children, in Yemen

The banks first to benefit from the new euro trillion ECB plans to print

8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about

Making the move to more sustainable mobility – three steps for companies

Colombia: Rights experts condemn killing of reintegrated former rebel fighter, call for respect of peace process

EU-Russia summit in the shadows of Kiev’s fumes

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

6.1 billion EUR for sustainable fisheries and safeguarding fishing communities

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Safeguarding civilians, strengthening Ebola response in DR Congo, marking Fistula Day, updates on CAR and Syria

This is how India can become the next Silicon Valley

Turkey: Commission continues humanitarian support for refugees

19th EU-China Summit: A historical advance in the Chino-European rapprochement

The woman who wanted to be treated the same as the man

These countries are the most peaceful – in 3 charts

Alternative proteins will transform food, mitigate climate change and drive profits. Here’s how

Estonia: use robust growth to improve income equality and well-being

The use of mobile technologies in Radiation Oncology: helping medical care

These countries are leading the way in green finance

Shenzhen just made all its buses electric, and taxis are next

4 eco-friendly products put sustainable spins on classic practices, from teacups to hankies

Why the future is bright for drone technology

‘Jerusalem is not for sale’ Palestinian President Abbas tells world leaders at UN Assembly

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

Portuguese Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

An economist explains how to value the internet

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

Cum-ex tax fraud scandal: MEPs call for inquiry, justice, and stronger tax authorities

Libyan authorities must shoulder the burden to support country’s ‘vulnerable’ south

COVID 19 Vaccine: A new terror or a savior for mankind?

State aid: Commission approves €150 million Austrian subordinated loan to compensate Austrian Airlines for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

The status of the Code of Medical Ethics: loading

UN Security Council offers Yemen Special Envoy ‘their full support’

Over 1 million health consultations provided in Yemen in 2019: UN migration agency

Why the ECB prepares to flood the markets with more and free of charge euro; everybody needs that now

“I believe that startups are for grown-up men, those, who have already achieved something “

Do not jeopardise future-oriented EU programmes, say EP’s budget negotiators

‘Global sisterhood’ tells perpetrators ‘time is up’ for pandemic of violence

One Hundred Years of Qipao History: from Shanghai to EU

Finland is a world leader in clean energy. Here’s what’s driving its success

Nearly four million North Koreans in urgent need, as food production slumps by almost 10 per cent

Will the Greek economy ever come back to growth?

3 important lessons from 20 years of working with social entrepreneurs

At this ‘critical moment’, UN chief urges anti-corruption conference to adopt united front

We are stronger than this pandemic (COVID-19)

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

‘Endemic’ sexual violence surging in South Sudan: UN human rights office

Public Policies for LGBT in Brazil

A faster, fairer way to retire carbon-emitting assets

Amid pandemic detours, mental health matters

Coronavirus: Commission concludes talks to secure future coronavirus vaccine for Europeans

Why hourly workers should have the same benefits as salaried ones

How do we design an inclusive energy transition?

State aid: Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme to support organisers of events affected by coronavirus outbreak

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s