Truth on trial: Consumer activism could be the big legal risk of 2021

October 23, 2020

Following his recent arrival to Infinite Global, Ken Kerrigan authored an article for the New York Law Journal on consumer activism and why communications and legal professionals should keep this top of mind for the new year.

It was just over a year ago that the Business Roundtable, a nonprofit association of chief executive officers of America’s largest companies, issued a bold statement that said a public company’s “sense of purpose” was now more important than traditional shareholder value metrics such as the price of its stock.

The statement was signed by 183 CEOs. And over the next 24 hours it became front page news in media across the country. While many viewed the development as a sudden change in corporate governance, the shift had been developing for a long time. Rather than a sudden change of heart in the c-suite, the statement reflected the social, purpose-driven values of a new generation of investors, consumers and employees.

Consumers are increasingly becoming consumer activistsprepared to “buycott” brands that reflect their views on key social issues, even if purchasing those brands cost a little bit more, and “cancel” those that do not. Employees have been staging highly visible “walkouts” and posting open letters to management when companies fail to take a stance on societal issues or correct workplace policies around issues like diversity and gender equality. And investors, especially millennials, continue to add ESG (environmental, societal and governance) oriented stock to their portfolios.

Continue reading on New York Law Journal.