Special to WorldTribune.com
An astonishing document underwritten by progressive billionaire George Soros details why global companies must dedicate themselves to social activism and how to avoid losing customers as they do so.
The report titled “Human Rights Policy Engagement – The Role of Companies” was published in June by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility). “We are global in mindset, staffing, and activities,” the group proudly proclaims on its website. The bought-and-paid-for Soros entity bills itself as “a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world.”
In an acknowledgment section at the top of the document, BSR salutes the man who made the report possible: Soros and his Open Society Foundations network.
“The authors wish to thank our corporate members who were engaged in the Business Action Platform for Human Rights who generously gave their time to provide insights for this report,” the acknowledgment reads. “We would also like to thank the Open Societies Foundations for the grant under which this report was written.”
The report reads as a how-to guide on challenging public pushback against globalism in nations around the world via corporate social action.
“In countries that have historically been democratic and human rights stalwarts, such as France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, right-wing populists have made gains in popular votes and have won parliamentary seats, further threatening many human rights norms and institutions,” the report states with alarm. “The currents of populism and nationalism threaten a broader drift to illiberal democracy already apparent in many countries, including the Philippines and Brazil, Israel and Turkey, Poland and Hungary (and, many fear, the U.S.).”
Frequent mention is made of policies championed by President Donald Trump as posing a threat to the globalist vision of “democracy.” Listed among “threats to, or rollbacks of, human rights protections relevant to business,” the report cites Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
“A ban on travel into the U.S. from several predominantly Muslim countries, including for refugees… sparked an immediate outcry from many companies,” the report states. “Immigration-related human rights issues have also galvanized corporate activism,” the report declares, citing the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for illegal aliens as an example. The report happily noted that major corporations such as “IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Apple Inc., General Motors, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Visa and Target Corporation called publicly for Congress to extend the DACA program.”
Lest you think this is just one published report that does not necessarily reflect the commitment of these corporate members to the progressive globalist vision, a review of BSR’s annual conferences should be an eye-opener.
Major corporations constantly and feverishly deny any financial support for abortion retail giant Planned Parenthood, which has its hands stained with the blood from a vast number of the roughly 60 million abortions that have been performed in the United States since the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. Planned Parenthood has even stopped listing corporate donors publicly in an attempt to shield its valued backers.
So get a load of BSR’s 2017 annual conference, in which the Keynote Speaker was none other than Cecile Richards, still serving at the time as president of Planned Parenthood. Al Gore and Microsoft President Brad Smith were listed as the other two “Keynote Speakers.”
In her address, Richards “highlighted the role of business in advancing women’s empowerment and access to women’s healthcare” BSR states on its website.
“The good news is that business and business leaders are best positioned to lead us out of the patriarchy and into the light,” Richards said.
When she was finished, she “received a standing ovation,” BSR reports. “Well you’ve all got your marching orders,” BSR Senior Vice President Laura Gitman told the corporate audience.
This conference was filled to the gills with leading executives of powerful corporations. Among others listed as speaking during an event Keynoted by Planned Parenthood and Al Gore were top execs from Amazon, General Motors, Google, Hilton hotels, LeviStrauss, Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, Taco Bell, TripAdvisor and the Wikimedia Foundation, to name but a very few.
During her speech, Richards extended her hand toward the crowd and said, “I’m glad my friend Shamina Singh is here from Mastercard. Thank you Shamina for the shout out earlier and the good work that you’re doing.”
CEO leadership in the pursuit of social justice is highlighted as of major importance.
“Since 2017, we have seen historic levels of CEO activism and engagement on social and political issues, including many related to human rights,” the BSR report states. “Some of these issues may not have related directly to business, although they certainly have significant impact on the environment in which companies operate, affecting communities, employees, and more. CEOs have been vocally opposed to the policy of separating of migrant children from their parents at the U.S.’s southern border, against the travel ban on migrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim-majority countries, and President Trump’s reaction to white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.”
Yet concern is raised that this kind of very public activism will anger customers and cost these companies financially.
“Many companies also fear alienating consumers in an increasingly polarized environment. Therefore, they stick to a neutral or middle-of-the-road approach to policy engagement, even as a few have aligned their brands with controversial stances (as with Nike’s decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in its advertising).”
Fear not, an action plan is unveiled to deal with the situation. “While these barriers are significant, they can be overcome, as demonstrated by many of the examples cited in the next section, Examples of Successful Policy Engagement. In the final section, Framework for Engaging, we present recommendations for companies as they approach these important and urgent issues.”
The CEOs of two major corporations are quoted in the section detailing “successful policy engagement.” “Sustainability, diversity and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M Vision. The past few months have provided me with an opportunity to reflect upon my commitment to these values,” reads the quote from 3M Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Inge Thulin. 3M products include Ace bandages, Scotch-Brite and Post-it adhesive notes.
Kenneth C. Frazier, Chair and CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck, says, “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” According to the very report Frazier is prominently quoted in, expressions of nationalism and support for secure borders are modes of “extremism” to be combated by major corporations such as Merck.
But these two brands are not alone in the fight. As mentioned, over 250 well-known companies are BSR “corporate members.” The entire list can be seen here. Along with many names we have frequently mentioned in previous Corporate Watch articles are popular companies such as American Express, Anheuser-Busch/InBev, Best Buy, CVS, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, The Gap, General Mills, Hallmark Cards, JetBlue airlines, Kohl’s, Macy’s, PayPal, Ralph Lauren, Subway sandwiches and Wendy’s.
Other years were more of the same at the BSR. Longtime Democratic power player Robert Reich, who served as former president Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997, and Judith Rodin, then-president of the radical-funding “philanthropy” the Rockefeller Foundation, served as Keynote Speakers for the 2015 conference.
The 2018 conference hilariously lists three New York Times reporters (two of them are listed as “investigative reporters”) among the featured speakers, along with two chief representatives from the notorious leftist-funding Tides Foundation. Tides has been reported to be one of the single largest financial backers of Media Matters, the progressive group that targets conservative media outlets and which recently led a campaign going after Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s advertisers.
This remarkable display of cozy collusion among corporate elites with Planned Parenthood, radical foundations and establishment journalists in the stated name of pursuing global “justice” should go far to explain the ever-increasing spate of “woke” campaigns by major companies that would seem on their face to be disastrous from a profit-seeking point of view.
Make no mistake. These corporations are fully vested in the fight to advance globalism and they see expressions of national sentiment or traditional values as barriers to be swept aside on the path to reaching their goal. George Soros literally has written them a playbook on what he expects them to do and how they are to do it. That playbook is being followed.
Joe Schaeffer is the former Managing Editor of The Washington Times National Weekly Edition. His columns appear at WorldTribune.com, LibertyNation.com and FreePressInternational.org.