US Election 2020 is drawing to a nail-biting finish. American President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are neck-to-neck after rancorous campaigning in the midst of a pandemic. Trump has been a climate change skeptic and went easy on mandates for corporate citizenship. What will happen to the global CSR landscape if Biden wins the US election?
What happens if Biden wins the US election?
Joe Biden is resolutely against the famous Friedman doctrine in his economic policy. Stakeholders encompass the community and the nation as well.
He states: “The idea the only responsibility a corporation has is with shareholders. That’s simply not true. It’s an absolute farce. They have a responsibility to their workers, their community, to their country. That isn’t a new or radical notion.”
Corporate purpose over profit
The year 2020 saw employees of bigwigs like Facebook, Adidas and Starbucks calling for more diversity and inclusion within the organization that went beyond lip service. Consumers have been pushing corporate heavyweights to speak out against racism, climate change and political issues. However, a Biden presidency would raise the bar much higher than this.
Business leaders will have to do some soul searching to concretise the values that drive their company. There will be more expectations for proactive steps than rousing ad campaigns and large donations. Conglomerates will have to get their house in order, not just in their US offices but also in other countries where they operate. Without a politico like Trump and his blunders to cover their inadequacies, companies will have to make decisions on pending policy changes and collaborations.
Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate treaty, banned Muslims from entering, built a wall to keep Mexicans out and called white supremacists fine people. All these shocking incidents gave CEOs plenty of room to criticise the government and set their own capitalist interests apart from the mainstream. However, if Biden wins there will be fewer chances for corporates to express outrage. They will have to do the hard work of looking at policy and legislation closely.
Companies will be under direct scrutiny for conflict of interest when it comes to political lobbying and their value system. For example, a company criticized President Trump for pulling out of the Paris Agreement but continued to fund politicians who passed environmentally unsound laws. Such discrepancies went unpunished but under a Biden presidency, firms will be expected to invest money and resources into the causes they publicly support.
Businesses have always been quite nonchalant about using their clout to influence elections and ease regulations. These practices will be under more scrutiny if Biden wins the US election. Rather than viewing this possibility as a burden, companies should view it as a chance to do right by their customers and communities.
Value-driven companies proved to be more resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. If the year 2020 has taught us anything, a more just society will build a stronger economy for any nation, whether it’s the US or India.