Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A seat at the table - CORPORATE KNIGHTS

Originally published: June 6, 2017

One persistent thread of the nascent Trump era is the stark divide between corporate America and the White House on many of the issues du jour, particularly when it comes to questions of diversity and inclusion. Some of these are explicit, such as vocal opposition and fierce lobbying against the president’s religious liberty executive order or the proposed travel ban.

Other moments have been unintentionally revealing, including this year’s parade of Super Bowl ads. Innocuous corporate messaging took on a greater significance in the week after the chaos of the original travel ban. Coca-Cola aired its multilingual version of “America the Beautiful” – not so the company would be seen as joining the anti-Trump resistance but more likely because the ad reflected broad themes that its target demographic wants to hear. This rift will only grow more pronounced in the years ahead.

The 2017 Deloitte Millennial survey conducted across 30 countries last September found that 87 per cent of millennials believe “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.” Younger Americans and Canadians are more likely to work for companies that share their values, as well as purchase their products and use their services. These values include greater environmental awareness, a greater acceptance of LGBTQ communities and less suspicion of cultural minorities, among other things. While a much-discussed Angus Reid poll released in October 2016 found that 68 per cent of Canadian respondents said minorities should be doing more to fit in with mainstream society, 53 per cent of millennials disagreed with that sentiment.