Inclusivity, equitability and rebuilding often describe Detroit, this year’s home to our annual flagship conference June 3-6. But to Michelle Mullineaux, Managing Director of Marketing at JUST Capital, they are table stakes for businesses to survive, as laid out by the American workforce. JUST Capital, a non-profit charity born from the crisis of capitalism, is a platform for corporate transparency. Measuring and ranking corporations based on the issues most meaningful to the American public, JUST Capital is empowering people with information aligned with values, as defined by the American people.
We caught up with Mullineaux to get a deep dive into why SB’19 Detroit is a great fit for JUST and why it’s a win-win to create ‘just’ jobs.
Originally engaged with the SB community a decade ago while attending Presidio Graduate School, Mullineaux is back this year, her first time hosting a panel on behalf of JUST Capital. Moderating a discussion with 3 corporate leaders from diverse sectors (all ranking highly on the newly published JUST 100 list) Mullineaux sees this panel talk as proof that aligning public values with business practices, benefits all.
This is what America wants to see from corporations and leaders. They want a balanced model, not a one size fits all approach. UPS’s environmental focus is outstanding, Humana leads in worker investment, and Campbell’s gives back to their community. Our rankings are transparent. We want people to put that power behind their dollar; we make our tools and findings accessible for free, because we want business practices to truly align with the priorities of the American public.
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In its annual survey of 10,000 Americans, JUST found that the public’s priorities comprise a broad set of issues. Nine of those rise to the top for the country’s workforce, and JUST annually collects independent and unbiased data on each. But getting the public to discuss tuition reimbursement, benefits packages, career development and day care services (4 of the 9 worker-centric issues) is easy compared to corporate transparency it seems. According to Mullineaux, many corporations have a reticence to disclose where they are in all 9 areas because they feel their narrative isn’t perfect, they are still a work in progress, or may not even have the policy to disclose.
Only 2% of the companies in our report disclose information on all 9 areas. This is a sad state of disclosure. But the ROE (return on equity) is there, corporations that are disclosing their information are out performing those that don’t.
With corporations in a constant race for talent, aligning and disclosing their policies may be the fastest way to win that race. As Mullineaux notes, the transparency of, and policies on, issues most valuable to workers is about a decade behind that of environmental issues. However, discussions are happening. Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission Investor Advisory Council spoke to the importance of applying human capital disclosure requirements on public companies. With 86% of companies disclosing diversity and equal opportunity policies, but only 11% disclosing their targets, there is much work to be done and those requirements could have great impact on the work of JUST Capital. Mullineaux does see companies embracing transparency more readily and holding leaderships’ feet to the fire though, with the tech industry as one of the loudest voices talking about the social issues.
We see the power in taking the risk. And corporations need to have the ‘journey’ mindset — they don’t need to be perfect on day one.
While the tech sector has been a leading voice in the conversation, Mullineaux stresses the stability of the nine issues across industries and demographics. There are no new trends or values breaking into the top issues and there are no issues more valuable to one subset of the workforce than others. No industry exponentially outweighs another in their transparency and Americans are unified in their priorities according to the JUST Capital data. That cohesion is a powerful message to corporations. Mullineaux also points out that some issues one might expect to be polarizing or politicized, are not.
Worker issues, are pretty stable. Invest in workers, not shareholders. The American public has the answers, and has given corporations a clear roadmap to save capitalism from itself.
What the American public is asking for, according to JUST Capital’s data, is the key to debunking shareholder capitalism that has broken the system and left too many behind. It’s an intuitive and clear model, but without corporate buy-in —the sharing of information on these key issues — the model doesn’t work. Mullineaux stays positive though and believes it is a huge mind-shift for American business practices. As the Win-Win of JUST Jobs states, “Americans agree that leadership and transparency around worker issues are imperative to just business and we believe companies can demonstrate the proof behind their purpose through additional disclosure on these issues.”
It’s the proof behind purpose that makes Mullineaux and JUST Capital standout members of the SB community. Their focus on the “S” in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) covers worker issues and the overall reporting of JUST goes further covering environmental and leadership policies as well. By leaning into the data, tirelessly communicating the value of policy transparency at the corporate level, and providing unbiased reporting to the American workforce and consumer, JUST Capital is flipping the narrative on capitalism. Connecting with her tribe this June, Mullineaux is excited to share JUST Capital’s finding and learn from attendees. She sees inclusivity, equitability and rebuilding not just inspiring attributes of Detroit, but as the foundation of a ‘just’ world for the worker, the consumer and the corporations to transform business as a force for good.
For more information on JUST Capital, their mission, methodology, and findings visit https://justcapital.com. Better yet, hear from Mullineaux and leaders from Campbell Soup Company, UPS and Humana in person at SB’19 Detroit this June.
Michelle Mullineaux is the Managing Director of Marketing at JUST Capital. She oversees the organization’s overall communications strategy and brand; PR and media relations; content strategy and thought leadership; websites, email, social and paid media; as well as partnership development, program management, and events. Michelle has worked at the intersection of CSR, sustainability, and social impact for 10+ years and specializes in helping organizations build awareness and influence through strategic communications, fuel growth through planning and partnerships, and execute complex projects by leading cohesive teams built on shared values.