A recent statement of purpose by the Business Roundtable provides an easy means for progressive activists to steer corporate behavior even further to the left, writes Justin Danhof of the National Center for Public Policy Research in an op-ed at The Hill.
Liberal activist shareholders have a well-defined pattern of altering corporate behavior, and the Roundtable just played right into this trap. First, a progressive shareholder group, almost always from the As You Sow network, files a shareholder resolution demanding a company make a pro-ESG policy statement. Go to any corporate website today, and you will assuredly see corporate commitments to environment, governance and social causes. Even financial forms such as proxies and annual statements are rife with these flowery statements. Again, this sounds innocuous. However, here’s where the corporate gadflies ramp up the pressure.
Once the left has the statement it wants, it next targets those companies with proposals calling for further action on those stated principles. Often times that action would restrict the companies’ commercial speech and freedom of association.
For example, if a company simply says it is committed to the environment, it can expect to get a follow-up shareholder proposal demanding that it cease any affiliation with conservative politicians or pro-business organizations. Since most business associations oppose onerous regulation — including heavy-handed environmental legislation — the left maligns these groups as anti-environment.
Read the rest here.