Top US CEOs vow to put social responsibility above profit

August 20, 2019 09:21
The American dream is alive, but fraying amid a growing wealth gap, says JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Bloomberg

Corporate America is responsible for providing economic benefits to all, not just its investors, the Business Roundtable group said on Monday, Reuters reports, citing a "statement of corporate purpose” signed by the heads of more than 180 US companies.

Although largely symbolic, the group's statement goes against a roughly 30-year viewpoint that corporations exist to serve shareholders, the report noted.

The statement comes amid calls for greater corporate responsibility from Democratic candidates for president and employee activists who want companies to take stances on issues outside of the corporate sphere.

The chairman of the Business Roundtable, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, said there is a growing wealth gap in the United States, and prioritizing all stakeholders will lead to a healthier economy.

“The American dream is alive, but fraying,” Dimon said in a statement. “Major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term.”

The statement, which was signed by everal CEOs including those of Amazon and American Airlines, outlined five commitments, including to invest in employees by providing fair wages and “important benefits,” support communities and “protect the environment.”

Maura Cowley, a director with the Sierra Club Resist campaign, said the statement lacks substance because some of the companies that signed it are “actively making the climate crisis worse.”

“It’s hard to take this letter seriously without further details or next steps,” Cowley was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.

“Until these sentiments are met with substantial action by these companies it is hard to see this as anything other than words on paper.”

– Contact us at [email protected]