Danone sees the pandemic accelerating the stakeholder capitalism shift

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Good morning.

I’ve made several references in this newsletter to CEOs who find most of their employees working from home. Yesterday, I spoke with Emmanuel Faber, Chairman and CEO of Danone, who has 2/3rds of his 100,000 employees around the world still at work–operating factories, collecting milk, distributing product, etc. The company has instituted some pretty extreme distancing protocols at its factories, as well as temperature checks, and premium pay for those on duty. (You can read more in this Financial Times story.)

Danone has enjoyed a spot on Fortune’s Change the World list for its focus on social benefits, and is working to convert the entire company to B-Corp status over the next decade. Faber said the crisis will accelerate the company’s move toward B-Corp status, and probably push other companies in the same direction. His take:

“Everything we have seen during the last several months suggests companies will have even more stakeholders than they felt before, with government stepping in, health authorities stepping in, and so on. Whether you want to call them stakeholders or not, they are.

“This idea of stakeholder capitalism is going to be significantly bigger than it was before the crisis, whether you like it or not.”

More news below. And be sure to listen to this week’s edition of Leadership Next, which you can access here. My cohost Ellen McGirt talks with two entrepreneurs who have turned their considerable skills to solving problems of the pandemic: K.R. Sridhar of Bloom Energy and Jane Mosbacher Morris of To The Market.

Alan Murray


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