The continuing unstable climate surrounding the 2020 presidential election directly threatens every aspect of our society, not least of which are the millions of businesses still struggling to recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19. For this reason, collective action to ensure free and fair elections - perhaps our most fundamental and inalienable right - should be a priority for our government, for all business leaders, and indeed, for every citizen.
As faith- and values-based investors, we believe the business community has a moral and business imperative to use its public platforms to promote confidence in our elections and our democracy. We also view this responsibility as a fulfillment of the social license granted corporations, and a demonstration of the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, recently rewritten by the Business Roundtable, committing the corporate purpose to the well-being of all stakeholders.
A Timeline of Investor Actions
1. On October 22, 2020, ICCR sent a letter to more than 200 corporations -- including many members of the Business Round Table -- calling on them to help ensure free and fair elections, by endorsing the following 6 principles:
1. Active support for free and fair elections
2. A call for a thorough and complete counting of all ballots
3. A call for all states to ensure a fair election
4. A condemnation of any tactics that could be construed as voter intimidation
5. Assurance that, should the incumbent Administration lose the election, there will be a peaceful transfer of power
6. Ensure that lobbying activities and political donations support the above
2. On February 11, 2021 a group of 81 institutional investors with $US1.69T, including many ICCR members, endorsed a statement sent to CEO members of the Business Roundtable in the aftermath of the January 6th attack on Congress, urging them to refrain from the practice of political giving for at least six months or until such time as a thorough risk assessment can be undertaken.
3. On June 16, 2021, ICCR joined 125+ state treasurers, public pension funds foundations, socially responsible and faith-based investors with $1.5trillion AUM in sending a letter to the directors responsible for the oversight of political spending at 82 corporations.
While the temptation for corporations to remain passive during these challenging times may be great, we believe that this is in fact a defining moment to exhibit leadership. The world watched this U.S. election like no other, and those voices out in front seen to be strongly supporting our democratic structures, and fundamental rights as citizens will not go unnoticed.