Great ResignationDiversity and InclusionCompensationCEO DailyCFO DailyModern Board

Business Roundtable CEO: How stakeholder capitalism benefits modern corporations

August 25, 2021, 9:30 AM UTC

It’s been two years since the Business Roundtable, a business advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., updated its mission statement. The group, which includes executives from some of the biggest companies in the United States, decided to reframe the driving force for corporations from shareholder primacy to one that creates value for customers, invests in employees, fosters diversity and inclusion, deals fairly and ethically with suppliers, supports the communities where the corporation is located, and protects the environment.

Or, to put it more succinctly, corporations should focus on what’s now called “stakeholder capitalism.”

The Business Roundtable received plenty of criticism for the change from people within the business community and the media. During the early days of the pandemic, many people thought the Business Roundtable would backpedal on the statement as the country’s economic crisis grew. Instead, the group doubled down on its belief that strong business leaders would instead increase their commitment to the stakeholders mentioned in the statement.

“The core of the statement is that the modern American corporate leader recognizes that unless you take care of your customers, your employees, your suppliers, and the communities in which you operate, unless you’re a good custodian of those stakeholders, the enterprise is not going to flourish in the long run,” says Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable president and CEO. (Bolten’s name likely is familiar from a very different organization: He was the chief of staff for President George W. Bush.)

The hardest part of the progression of stakeholder capitalism, Bolten says, is in figuring out how to measure what corporate leaders are doing.

Bolten joins Fortune cohosts Ellen McGirt and Alan Murray on Leadership Next, a podcast about the changing rules of business leadership, to discuss the challenges of stakeholder capitalism and much more. Listen to the full episode below.

More must-read business news and analysis from Fortune:

Subscribe to Fortune Daily to get essential business stories straight to your inbox each morning.