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Business as a Platform for Change

“CEOs Must Mandate for All Stakeholders, Not Just Shareholders”: Marc Benioff Joins Davos Panel on Stakeholder Capitalism

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting is underway, with virtual sessions on an array of topics taking place. As the world continues to grapple with the Coronavirus pandemic, Davos has gone virtual, with an extensive online roster of sessions taking place through January 29th. On Tuesday, Salesforce Chair and CEO Marc Benioff participated in a leadership panel discussion on how business leaders can implement non-financial disclosures for their companies and how investors and governments can work together to advance stakeholder capitalism in their regions.

Benioff was among several panelists, and the panel was moderated by author and Financial Times journalist Gillian R. Tett. In addtion to Benioff, speakers included: WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab; Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada; Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and CEO of Blackrock Corporation; Brian T. Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America; Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director. 

“There has been a mantra for too long that the business of business is business, but today the business of business is improving the state of the world.”

Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce

As Benioff noted in a New York Times op-ed piece: “Capitalism as it has been practiced in recent decades — with its obsession on maximizing profits for shareholders — has also led to horrifying inequality…It’s time for a new capitalism — a more fair, equal and sustainable capitalism that actually works for everyone and where businesses, including tech companies, don’t just take from society but truly give back and have a positive impact.”

marc davos
Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chair and CEO, participated in a panel on Stakeholder Capitalism moderated by the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett as part of the Davos Agenda

Here are selected highlights from the session:

  • “CEOs around the world need to realize they must mandate for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. And there has been a mantra for too long that the business of business is business, but today the business about business is improving the state of the world.” – Marc Benioff , Chair and CEO, Salesforce
  • “We see, in fiscal measures, much more attention to addressing climate risks and the important opportunities of the transition to the new climate economy. We are seeing these measures coming around the world, and we want to encourage more of those.” — Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

“I didn’t expect when we were in Davos last year that…two months later my whole year would be obsessed with how can I use Salesforce to make lives better for the world during this pandemic, [and] it’s not just me. It’s many, many CEOs that I’ve spoken to.”

Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce
  • “We would not be where we are in the world today without the outstanding leadership of many, many CEOs who did heroic work all over the world to basically save their communities. They operated locally. They also operated globally.” – Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce
  • “In 2020, we saw an extraordinary shift in how investors invested across the industry. You see a widening gap between the best performing companies in the [investment] industry and the worst performing companies in the industry. So we are seeing investor preferences changing, and much of it has to do with stakeholder capitalism and how a company, and their leadership and board, are navigating themselves.” — Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock Corporation
  • The transition that we are going to be undergoing related to sustainability is a huge economic opportunity. We’re going to be creating new technologies, new industries, as other industries are going to become less important. But let’s be clear, let’s focus on society’s acceptance to create new jobs, to create new technologies, to move forward. We’re going to need $50 trillion in investing to get to a net zero world.Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock Corporation

“We are seeing investor preferences changing, and much of it has to do with stakeholder capitalism”

Laurence D Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock Corporation
  •  We’ve got a series of 21 metrics that go across all the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals, because simply put, if we have to have profits and deliver for society, society has told us what they want, which is the SDG goals and implemented…we have 62 companies have signed on as of this morning. Those are major companies with 7 trillion of market cap, and millions of employees around the world who are saying, “Hey, I will hold myself accountable to live up to the stakeholder capitalism decision point that defined capitalism as being a solution rather than anything else.” –Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America
  • “I didn’t expect that when we were in Davos last year that I would be going home and two months later that my whole year would be obsessed with how can I use Salesforce to make lives better for the world during this pandemic. That’s been my entire year, but it’s not just me. It’s many, many CEOs that I’ve spoken to.”  — Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce