The business community is tackling diversity with new seriousness

December 11, 2020, 11:14 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Fortune and Refinitiv hosted a conversation yesterday about our new partnership to encourage companies to publicly report their diversity data. “ESG has been around for some time, and it is really strong in some areas, including climate,” said Refinitiv CEO David Craig. “But for a long time the S in ESG has been missing. We were surprised and shocked by the lack of ethnicity data that gets collected.” 

PwC’s U.S. Chairman Tim Ryan told the group why he made the rare decision to release his company’s diversity data. “We wanted the self-imposed pressure to do better.” His recommendation to others: “Don’t be ashamed of your numbers. They are what they are. What’s important is progress.” The critical factor, said Crystal Ashby of the Executive Leadership Council, is that the “CEO has to be really clear where they stand on this issue.” You can access the Refinitiv tool here, and become part of this important movement.

Separately, Merck CEO Ken Frazier and IBM Executive Chair Ginni Rometty yesterday unveiled a major new effort, along with 35 other CEOs, to commit to train, hire and promote one million Black Americans over the next decade, with a special focus on those without a four-year college degree. The effort is evidence that the business community is tackling this issue with new seriousness.

And since it is Friday, some feedback. Lots of response to Monday’s post about the new Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican—not all of it supportive. OE wrote in:

“This partnership with an elitist anachronism like the Catholic Church seems to be an exercise in virtue signaling. Any projects it spawns likely will be self-defeating and harmful to the causes it attempts to further.”

But KK took a closer look and was more impressed:

“I read the specific pledges from each company and they are wonderful. I like the simplification by the Pope in ‘benefitting the planet and the people.’”

Meanwhile, the markets continue to party. Airbnb’s IPO stock jumped 135% in its first day of trading, giving the company a market cap of over $100 billion. That’s more than Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt combined.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Pfizer vaccine

With the FDA's vaccine advisors recommending Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, Fortune's David Z. Morris goes through what you need to know about the vaccine: how effective it is; the side effects; cost; eligibility; availability; the allergic-reaction question; and how the thing works. Fortune

Ericsson vs Samsung

Ericsson has sued Samsung in the U.S. over alleged intellectual-property violations. The companies last clashed over patents eight years ago, in a case that saw Samsung cough up $650 million plus years of royalties. Now, Ericsson claims, Samsung has broken its commitment to negotiate and license patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Reuters

European summit

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hoped EU national leaders might leap in and rescue post-Brexit trade negotiations at their last meeting of the year yesterday. But the leaders were too busy debating their budget (finally unblocked, in a way that partially caves in to Hungary and Poland over the rule of law) and new climate targets (at least 55% emissions cuts by 2030) all night long. The trade talks got a mere 15 minutes' discussion, at 8.30 a.m. Johnson warned yesterday that—you don't say—a no-deal is a "strong possibility." Bloomberg

Huawei and Uyghurs

The French soccer star Antoine Griezmann has resigned as a Huawei brand ambassador, over its alleged testing of facial-recognition software for use in monitoring the oppressed Uyghur minority. He Instagrammed: "Following strong suspicions that the Huawei company has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighur alert’ thanks to facial recognition software, I am announcing the immediate termination of my partnership with the company." Guardian


Xi control

The Wall Street Journal offers a deep dive into Chinese President Xi Jinping's push to bring the private sector to heel: "China’s most powerful leader in a generation wants even greater state control in the world’s second-largest economy, with private firms of all sizes expected to fall in line. The government is installing more Communist Party officials inside private firms, starving some of credit and demanding executives tailor their businesses to achieve state goals. In some cases, it is taking charge entirely of companies it regards as undisciplined." WSJ

Tesla shares

JP Morgan analysts see Tesla's shares as being "in our view and by virtually every conventional metric not only overvalued, but dramatically so." They added: "We do not believe Tesla will grow to approximate 2x the combined size of Toyota & VW at the same margin (or 1⁄2 the combined size at 4x the margin, or any of the other combinations of volume and margin that could be reverse engineered" to justify the current valuation. Fortune

Vaccine equality

The current coronavirus vaccination programs generally exclude women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, because the vaccine candidates were not clinically tested on these segments of the population. That somewhat undermines the idea of making sure that frontline workers get the shot early on, seeing as 70% of health-care workers are women. Washington Post

Environmental Biden

Most Americans support the expansion of renewable energy in the U.S., but getting political traction will likely depend on selling the job-creation aspects of the green revolution, as explained in this piece by Fortune's Aric Jenkins: "A more-green economy could revamp industries and create new ones powered by clean energy, the incoming administration and environmental advocates say." Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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