Friday Feedback: Chauvin verdict and Earth Day motivation
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Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.
Which is useful, as my Wednesday essay, on corporate America’s statements regarding Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd, asked you for feedback. Plenty came in.
Let’s start with D.R.: “Many of the comments by industry titans are true. However, until all the individuals that make up this nation change their attitude nothing will change. We need to assess the real reasons behind ‘race on race’ violence and make that change before anything will actually change.”
More overt skepticism now, from V.S.: “No, the statements did not meet the moment. None of them stated specific actions on how their organizations were addressing systemic discriminatory practices. No one apologized for social media and technology platforms that contribute to racism and fascism.”
…And from D.L.: “Mark Zuckerberg??? C’mon man. He sponsors, builds and profits off of THE problem. I have friends who work at FB and I am incredulous they aid a company so rotten to the core. The thing’s a damn algorithmic hate factory on pretty much every issue of our lifetime.”
…And from G.M.: “Just empty comments from these supposed leaders of business, all looking for a leg up on their competitors. What have they really done up to now in their organizations to help these minorities?”
Meanwhile, B.T. wrote that “the main issue is excessive use of force by police. The racial issue is important but not the primary issue.” S.P. agreed: “Derek Chauvin was not found guilty of racism or tried for a hate crime. That doesn’t mean race wasn’t part of his motive—only he and God knows—but that wasn’t what the trial was about.”
Separately, T.L. wrote in from New Zealand to discuss the opening entreaty in Alan’s Earth Day essay yesterday:
“Why do people want every day that is ‘celebrated’ to be ‘Happy’…being told ‘have a Happy Earth Day’ seems to imply that we must enjoy the day and it is a nice day…Sorry I am not going to have a Happy Earth Day as we pick up plastic off the beach at the bottom of our road. Even here at the bottom of the world. I am going to have a Motivated Earth Day.”
Have a good weekend, everyone! More news below.
With the U.S. leading the way, a host of countries yesterday announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 2030. President Joe Biden said the U.S. will cut its emissions by 50-52% from the 2005 base level, far outstripping former President Barack Obama's pledge for a 26-28% cut. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: "It is so good to have the U.S. back on our side when it comes to climate change." Fortune
New York City has sued Exxon, Shell and BP—and the American Petroleum Institute for good measure—for claiming in ads that their products are "cleaner" and "emissions-reducing" while not disclosing their harmful climate impact. (Also read: New York City comptroller Scott Stringer's new piece for Fortune, in which he discusses fossil-industry divestment and calls on the Biden administration to commit to strong clean vehicle standards.) Fortune
President Biden is reportedly preparing to announce a near-doubling of the U.S. capital gains rate for the wealthy, to more than 43%. The news hit the value of Bitcoin, pushing it below the $50,000 mark. At the time of writing, it's at $48,200, which is a far cry from the $60,000 value it recently hit. Fortune
Intel, which just posted weak quarterly results, has warned that the current semiconductor supply shortage could last another couple years. New CEO Pat Gelsinger: "This will take a while until people can put more capacity in the ground. It’s just the way it is when you’re building new factories." Wall Street Journal
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Consumer Reports claims it is easy to fool a Tesla into entering Autopilot mode with no-one at the wheel. Tesla's Autopilot mode provides a degree of autonomy in the vehicle's handling, but the company still says people should be ready to intervene at all times. Consumer Reports: "Tesla is falling behind other automakers like GM and Ford that, on models with advanced driver assist systems, use technology to make sure the driver is looking at the road." Fortune
China's central bank wants Jack Ma's Ant Group to hand over its consumer lending data to a new, state-controlled credit scoring company that would also serve other financial institutions. Ant wanted to lead the new company, but the People's Bank of China sees (not unreasonably) a potential conflict of interest. Financial Times
The International Space Station is a symbol of scientific cooperation between Earth's great powers…or at least it was. Russia's probably leaving it, space agency Roscosmos said, if President Putin approves the construction of a Russian space station. The plan it to get the new station in orbit by 2030. It would operate further out, raising radiation concerns that mean it would largely be staffed by robots and A.I., though people would also visit. Guardian
The pandemic has highlighted the need for companies to have effective crisis communication mechanisms in place, writes Hannah Storm in this piece for Fortune: "If individuals should train themselves to better adapt to adversity, so too should companies… This pandemic year has underscored just how elusive certainty can be, which adds an even more challenging dimension to crisis communications." Fortune
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.