Shareholders shouldn’t be neglected for social activism. (Pic: supplied)
Shareholders shouldn’t be neglected for social activism. (Pic: supplied)

‘Woke’ corporations are bad for more than business

ONE of the most insidious developments in the rise and rise of identity politics has been its wholesale embrace by corporate Australia.

Banks posing as moral arbiters lecturing us about "climate responsibility" and "diversity and inclusion" while ripping off their customers takes the cake for gross hypocrisy.

But politically correct virtue signalling now is baked into the KPIs of most big companies across the board, thanks to bloated human resources department with nothing useful to do and perhaps some sort of misguided guilt complex among their privileged senior management.

Now, thank goodness, the Centre for Independent Studies has aimed its lasers on the worse excesses of what is more politely known as "Corporate Social Responsibility", with a research paper by research fellow Dr Jeremy Sammut released on Wednesday.

"Curbing Corporate Social Responsibility: Preserving pluralism - and preventing politicisation - in Australian Business" finds that corporate meddling in contentious political debates is in danger of being entrenched in law.

Corporate groupthink is becoming the norm. (Pic: supplied)
Corporate groupthink is becoming the norm. (Pic: supplied)

Sammut writes of the push to include a 'social license' in Australian Stock Exchange's proposed corporate governance guidelines which would require companies to earn a so-called "social license" by acting "socially responsibly" on politically-contentious issues such as human rights, climate change, taxation and wages.

"Corporate meddling in political issues that have only tenuous -- if any -- links to business interests is the line that CSR should not cross, if it is to avoid companies becoming inappropriately politicised."

"CSR activists want nothing less than a license to play politics with shareholder's money," he writes.

"Corporate meddling in political issues that have only tenuous -- if any -- links to business interests is the line that CSR should not cross, if it is to avoid companies becoming inappropriately politicise."

They want to "subvert companies from traditional business towards open political activism.

"This is revealed by the activist mindset of CSR professionals who assert that the next stage involves business's 'role in society as a driver of change' and enabling companies to participate in driving 'systemic change' around social, environmental, and economic issues," Dr Sammut said.

"On this understanding of the ultimate focus of CSR, the business of business will not just be CSR in the best interests of the business -- the business of business will be politics.

He argues for a new principle to be "introduced into the language and practice of good corporate governance: the Community Pluralism Principle, which would ensure that shareholders aren't neglected and social activism doesn't take precedence over the company's core business mission.