The politics of low pay disclosures

A version of my brief comments at the launch event for the latest High Pay Centre analysis of FTSE 350 pay ratios

This refreshed analysis is highly welcome and timely. We should remind selves that this is a political disclosure. For example, the fact that the disclosure is regarding the UK workforce means that its information value is purely local, and not about the businesses as a whole. Its information value for investors is limited because of that – and I’ll discuss ways of giving investors more insight into low pay issues – but its value as a political tool is clear.

Political disclosure and the politics matters. It’s a real problem for all in business that there’s an 11% deficit on the public’s view of whether business operates in a way that’s beneficial for society. This key outcome from the High Pay Centre’s public opinion survey carried out by Survation, showing fully 49% of people do not believe that businesses generally behave in a way that is beneficial to society, is a problem for all those interested in business, including all investors. That this is the balance of public opinion at the start of a cost of living crisis is actually potentially dangerous – one assumes that as life gets harder for so many of us, so opinions will harden in an unfavourable and increasingly problematic way.

That could be politically difficult. Unfairness fosters all sorts of problems, political and societal.

To use the political power of public naming, as last year, I think it is appropriate specifically to call out those companies that have not disclosed the pay data on their workforces as they should. According to the report, this year there are fewer than last year’s 11, but seven companies continue not to disclose what they should. Centrica, Electrocomponents, Ibstock, Pearson, Pets at Home, Rentokil and JD Wetherspoon could all do better.

It is clear again from the data that the biggest driver of these high pay ratios is low pay among the workforce, not so much high pay of the CEOs. The chart below comparing industries makes this plain, with the highest pay ratios coinciding generally with the lowest median pay among the workforce (it would be clearer if the scale for the pay levels was inverted, but the correlation is pretty clear anyway). Looked at in this way, there are some clear outliers – notably that even though median pay in the banking sector is high, the ratio is also high, contrasting with financial services more broadly (median pay appears similar at around £65,000, but ratio at financial services is about half that of banks, about 30:1 rather than over 60:1). At other end of the spectrum, it seems clear that the main driver of the high pay ratios in retail appears to be low pay. Yet the next worst-paying sector travel and leisure (which reports median pay maybe 50% higher but still under £30,000) has pay ratios under half the level of the retail sector. There’s a correlation but there are nevertheless clear variations in the approaches of different sectors.

As the biggest driver of these issues is low pay, we need greater disclosure of pay structures and approaches at this end of the pay spectrum. This would allow investors and other stakeholders to understand business models more clearly. As inflation adds pressure to increase pay, understanding these dynamics will gain added importance. In a previous blog, I’ve argued that companies should be required to disclose: (1) the number of full-time equivalent roles in their business and (2) the proportion of those roles that pay a living wage. I don’t diminish the challenge of calculating the latter for many countries, but there’s a lot of work gone into it so it is possible. Actually seeing which companies pay their people enough to live on and to bring up a family with dignity is surely a key metric. These two measures are also aggregable so can be considered across portfolios, something which matters to investment institutions, particularly asset owners. [This recommendation was kindly – and nearly accurately – picked up by Nils Pratley in The Guardian; “Good idea: a league table would get noticed and may cause more embarrassment,” he says].

A further way that the disclosures on low pay are deficient is, as the report notes, the exclusion of many of the lowest paid from the calculations. The exclusion of agency staff, including temps and cleaners and so on, clearly diminishes the insights the reporting gives, both for investors and for political purposes. Finding ways to capture the workforce more generally would be helpful.

The question of inflationary pressures on wages will be a key one for the next few years. It’s worth noting that inflation is experienced very differently at different income levels. Different groups buy different baskets of goods, meaning that 9/10% headline inflation is not what any one group actually experiences. Analysis by the New Economics Foundation suggests that the variation could be as much as between 20% for the poorest and perhaps 2% for the richest; one hopes that remuneration committees bear this in mind when considering both the pay of top executives – who are unlikely to need anything close to headline inflation-level pay increases to maintain their standards of living – and the pay of the general workforce – who may need pay increases well above headline inflation to maintain theirs.

The pay ratio is a political metric, but that doesn’t mean investors and companies can ignore it. On the contrary, the current political and economic environment requires that they respond actively to this agenda. It is not in any of our interests that more people doubt the benefits of business for society than think it is a positive – and that that is true at the start of the cost of living crisis is genuinely a dangerous position for us.

We all need to pay more attention, and simply, to pay more.

High Pay Centre analysis of FTSE 350 pay ratios, High Pay Centre, May 2022

Launch event, May 23 2022

THG boss should count the blessings of life as a listed company, Nils Pratley, The Guardian, May 23 2022

Losing the inflation race, New Economics Foundation, May 5 2022

Inflation’s two separate worlds (at least)

The shocking statistics released last week by the Trussell Trust – the UK’s main foodbank provider, with a network of 1400 – bring to the statistical surface the reality of the cost of living crisis in the country. It is unfairness writ large, and it reflects the different worlds in which our people live.

Some may be shocked simply at the number of foodbanks in the UK, which is at least in theory a wealthy nation (as well as the Trussell Trust ones, there are an estimated 1200 further banks). But the fact that the Trussell Trust distributed more than 2.1 million food parcels in the year to end-March 2022 is still more shocking. That’s up 14% compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019-2020 and up no less than 80% in five years. What’s worse is the notable acceleration. The 14% increase in the annual figures masks quarterly variations, with Q2 up 10% against the 2019-20 equivalent, Q3 up 17% and Q4 up 22%. The last month for which the Trust provides figures, February, saw demand for food parcels up 25% over February 2020 numbers.

It is clearly a mark of an unfair society that so many should be so dependent. The opening line of the Trust’s statistical paper is shaming:

“Destitution, which means that people cannot afford to buy the absolute essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean, drives the need for food banks in the UK.”

But it is all too easy for the comfortable to under-estimate the cost of living crisis. The averaged measure of inflation – the consumer prices index – reached a level unheard of for 30 years in March 2022, at 6.2%. This headline rate is what drives monetary policy decisions, and those within corporate boardrooms too. Yet the averages used to produce that statistic mean that few will actually experience that number. Those with lower incomes and less discretionary spending are likely to face far higher levels of overall inflation given the recent increases in the staple spending categories of fuel and food. People at other income levels will experience very different levels of economic pain. The overall statistic masks added unfairness to those least able to bear the burden. By concentrating solely on the headline figures, policymakers and corporate decision-makers may risk missing the real scale of the impacts for some members of society – in ways that may exacerbate existing unfairnesses.

The mere facts of these different experiences of economic life may be well understood, but the scale of it is not. The New Economics Foundation has produced two charts that bring this impact very fully to life. The first demonstrates the scale of the differential between those at different income levels, and the way in which the cost of living squeeze is a painful bear hug at the lowest income levels, while being not much more than a cuddle for the wealthy:

Any company board thinking about pay rises for top executives based on headline inflation would do well to take note of this chart, and the extent to which the wealthy are feeling only the most limited of impacts; they should also consider the extent to which even inflation-level pay rises for their general workforce may not be sufficient to reflect the squeeze that they are facing.

Perhaps even more shocking are NEF’s calculations regarding the differential impacts of the squeeze on pre-existing social unfairnesses:

Two further vignettes illustrate how this differential experience of inflation works in practice. First is a brilliant recent working paper, Consumption Inequality in the Digital Age. We already knew that digitalisation was a driver of inequality by narrowing the group of economic winners and by reducing others’ economic opportunities. But this paper notes that technology products form a greater part of purchasing by wealthier individuals – as well as becoming a greater proportion of all purchasing over time. This much is not terribly surprising; what is is the overall impact of these effects. The researchers state: “we demonstrate that the price channel has sizeable wealth effects and explains 22.5% of the increase in consumption inequality”. Just this one portion of the purchased basket has an outsized effect on inequality and entrenching unfairness. And it is masked by the headline inflation number, which has been consistently deflated by the falling prices of technology.

The second study considers how unequal experiences of headline economics can be driven by the debt burden that individuals face. The paper Indebted Demand takes a macroeconomic perspective but it is built on the insight that the propensities for marginal spending are very different for those with significant debt burdens than for those free of such burdens. The indebted – most of us – are constrained by debt and so our spending activities are curtailed. The wealthy (the paper cuts this as the top 1%) have a wholly different experience of economic life. Nothing surprising in that – but the point the paper makes is that with so large a portion of the economic actors in most economies being constrained by debt their ability and willingness to consume is eroded significantly. In effect, there is a transfer from the indebted to savers, depressing demand overall. And so, demand in the economy overall is restricted, it is the title’s indebted demand. Only by breaking out of this debt trap will consumption and economic activity be reawakened.

The paper notes that productive debt – debt financing capital investment for use in the economy – can have positive impacts. But it notes that most debt, certainly most household debt, finances housing and so is largely unproductive. It also considers the ballooning levels of student debt and notes that while this does have some productive impacts (in the rather unpleasant economic jargon, it builds human capital) to the extent it reflects merely increases in the costs of education and not greater investment in skills it should be viewed as unproductive debt.

Overall, the paper argues that many western economies are mired in a debt trap, with inequality being a feature of this market failure. The authors argue that economies will struggle to emerge from their current doldrums without ‘unconventional policies’:

“For example, redistributive tax policies, such as wealth taxes, or structural policies that are geared towards reducing income inequality generate a sustainable increase in demand, persistently raising natural interest rates away from their effective lower bound. One-time debt forgiveness policies can also lift the economy out of the debt trap, but need to be combined with other policies, such as macroprudential ones, to prevent a return to the debt trap over time.”

It remains to be seen whether the headline numbers will distract attention from the terrible nature of the challenge faced by so many in society. If they do, unconventional policies will probably not gain traction. But clearly something needs to shift if we are to reawaken fairness.

See also: Poverty isn’t bashful

Money is not the answer

Trussell Trust data briefing on end-of-year statistics relating to use of food banks: April 2021-March 2022, Trussell Trust, April 27 2022

Losing the Inflation Race: Poorly targeted policy is failing to prevent an income crisis, Sam Tims, Dominic Caddick, New Economics Foundation, May 5 2022

Consumption Inequality in the Digital Age, Kai Arvai, Katja Mann, SSRN Working Paper, December 23 2021

Indebted Demand, Atif Mian, Ludwig Straub, Amir Sufi, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 136.4, November 2021

The social footprint, and Maundy Thursday’s gifts

We are used now to talk about the carbon footprint of our activities, including the carbon footprint of our investments. But activities and investments have many other impacts on the world, they have many other footprints. Until we begin to assess these, we risk continuing to ignore them. One of those we need to consider much more actively is the social footprint. We need to capture this because the systemic nature of global inequalities – the world’s unfairness – is, alongside climate change, the other great systemic risk for us all, including for investment institutions.

To help investors, particularly the large asset owners, consider their exposures to the risks associated with global unfairness, and start to consider approaches to mitigating and managing them, we need to be measuring the social footprint of their investments.

This consideration is brought forcefully to mind by a recent excellent report by my friends at the High Pay Centre on behalf of dear colleagues at CIPD, PLSA and RailPen, How do companies report on their ‘most important asset’?. Playing on the corporate trope that employees are so often said to be a company’s most important asset, the report contrasts this with the substance with which companies tend to discuss workforce issues – or the lack of such substance. Naturally I was taken by the starting words of the executive summary:

“A company’s workforce is central to its long-term success. The provision of secure, safe, fulfilling and fairly-paid work should therefore be a priority for companies.”

The report highlights disappointing gaps in the reporting on company workforces, but notes some good practice – with leading FTSE companies providing disclosures and data such as:

  • Employee turnover, skills, training and recruitment
  • Accident and fatality rates; mental health statistics
  • Trade union relations, and other information on giving workers a collective voice
  • Links between workforce and strategy, as well as inclusion of workforce statistics in company targets and risks

While the report notes substantial gaps, it is unfortunately fair to say that UK-listed companies are generally better at reporting on such matters than many private companies and by others around the world, not least because the Corporate Governance Code calls for workforce reporting. The gaps in reporting from other companies are still more substantial. As the report calls for, I tend to use the term workforce to encompass all those working to deliver on a company’s business model, regardless of the legal niceties of the contract between the company and them. The term means that, for example, contractors and gig workers are not excluded from consideration.

Rachel Kay from the High Pay Centre followed up the report with an energetic blog post railing at the excess of narrative reporting and the limited data that companies disclose on workforce issues. While personally I am a fan of narrative reporting – when done well, it can inform investors and other stakeholders very fully and fairly about the individual circumstances of a company – the simple fact is that it is rarely done well. And the lack of concrete data makes poor narrative reporting worse than useless. What’s more, having spent the last year thinking exclusively from the asset owner perspective, I’m acutely conscious that from a portfolio level only data matters: narratives about individual companies simply cannot be aggregated. What’s more, only certain data is capable of being aggregated.

This is the gift that climate reporting has given us. Through the lens of TCFD (the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, the group fostered by the gnomes of Basle to help the world comprehend the challenge of climate change and report on it consistently), we have seen that it is possible to aggregate reporting on climate change issues across funds aggregating many company holdings and across portfolios encompassing multiple funds. The fungibility of CO2 emissions globally and the ability to calculate carbon footprints and intensities in terms of tonnes of CO2 equivalent mean that we can have such a broad oversight. The term carbon footprint has become meaningful.

The term social footprint is not yet meaningful. To make it meaningful, we need a measure that is genuinely capable of being aggregated across companies and across portfolios. None of those highlighted in the recent CIPD/PLSA/RailPen report deliver on that – all of those considered are currently too tailored to the company to be meaningful if aggregated.

My starting suggestion for measures that are capable of being aggregated are more simple, as they need to be if they are to apply across companies in a range of sectors and in a range of geographies. That suggestion is:

  • The number of full-time equivalents in the company’s workforce
  • The proportion of them who are paid enough to fund a decent life for a family

Neither of these measures is straightforward: calculating full-time equivalents from the variations of flexible work can be a challenge, let alone the difficulties of considering the positions of consultants and gig economy workers. The concept of decent pay – usually termed a living wage – has been subject to ongoing debate, but that means that there have been multiple calculations and assessments across the globe (which is necessary to make international reporting make sense).

Despite these complexities, hopefully the aim of these metrics is clear and their value is also. Their simplicity is clear: more jobs are worthwhile, but only if they pay a decent wage. Only if we have more such jobs will the world become a fairer place. These metrics are not intended as a substitute for more detailed reporting on workforce matters that are tailored to company-specific business models; they are a proposed supplement to it, to enable an aggregated social footprint to be calculated. They are the starting point for a social footprinting of global investment portfolios.

A recent presentation that I was party to, but sadly cannot share publicly, indicates how far we need to travel to deliver on the promise of fair pay for all workers that the living wage calculation represents. An assessment of the extent of underpayment around the world, through the Global Impact Database at the Impact Institute, showed extensive unfair pay, not just in supply chains but within company operations and in what the analysis calls their downstream activities.

Perhaps most surprising was the company-by-company analysis of underpayments, across companies included in the MSCI World index. This showed that Apple had by far the worst social footprint. Issues within its supply chain are perhaps well-known, but it was also found to have extensive underpayments in its employee base and downstream. In spite of pitching itself as a luxury brand with prices to match, the company apparently does not see the need to pay its workers a fair wage – not even its employees a fair wage. Some might suggest that Apple could be still more successful had it chosen to pay its workforce more fairly. An alternative interpretation is that this is actually a sign that a portion of Apple’s profits are only illusory: if it did but choose to pay its workforce enough to live on, its operating margin would not be the current generous 30%. This puts debates about the fairness of the company’s executive pay further into context.

It seems to me somehow fitting that I post this blog on Maundy Thursday, the date where by tradition the British monarch humbly gives small gifts of money to paupers. Fairness should not be dependent on the wealthy making occasional honourable donations from their wealth to those deemed the worthy poor, but the world seems we have moved on less than we might hope from the time of bad King John (the first monarch recorded to have made Maundy donations, a few years before his disgruntled barons forced him to increase fairness and the Rule of Law by signing Magna Carta).

See also: Better ways of showing how people matter

How do companies report on their ‘most important asset’?, Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association and RailPen, March 8 2022

Report launch webinar, March 8 2022

Has narrative reporting gone too far?, Rachel Kay, High Pay Centre, March 24 2022

Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

The Social Footprint: Introduction and Proof of Concept, Center for Sustainable Organizations, 2011

Global Impact Database, Impact Institute

Global Wage Report 2020-21, International Labour Organisation, 2021

Improving Wages to Advance Decent Work in Supply Chains, UN Global Compact

The madness, let alone unfairness, of US executive pay

A billionaire investor rails at the suggestion that someone earning $99 million is paid inappropriately, complaining that in some way the system for raising concerns must be fixed. It’s an article that could probably only appear in one of our financial markets-focused newspapers – in this case it was the FT.

The complaint from Michael Moritz, partner at technology investor Sequoia Capital, is still odder because what it frets about is that 36% of Apple’s shareholders voted against what is usually called the say-on-pay vote. Formally, this is called an ‘Advisory vote to approve executive compensation’, and the word ‘advisory’ matters more than the word ‘approve’. Even if a majority of shareholders had opposed the vote, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, would still have been paid: such a vote would have amounted only to a slap on the wrists. A vote against by a minority of the shareholder base amounts to even less than such a slap on the wrists.

And yet Moritz feels this is evidence that the system is broken. While this blogger agrees that the US pay system is indeed broken, that’s from a very different perspective.

The brokenness of the US pay system is shown very clearly in these statistics from the 2022 version of the 100 Most Overpaid CEOs, the 8th edition of an excoriating report from ethical campaigners As You Sow:

Average CEO pay in the US is $15 million each year, though as the table shows many are paid much more than this. On average that is almost 300x the pay of that company’s workforce, though as the data also shows, at many companies the CEOs earn thousands of times more than their average worker. Indeed, the only times that the ratio appears to drop below 300x are where that company’s median employee earns over $100,000, which is rare as average pay in the US is around half that, and probably reflects a narrow understanding of the company’s workforce. In general, US CEOs are taking a disproportionate level of pay, and leaving their colleagues with unfairly low amounts.

Thus, the stagnation of the pay of ordinary people makes these numbers appear still more extreme. As well as excess pay at the top, these disparities are being driven by the average worker’s salary falling in real terms as ordinary jobs are squeezed from our system and the middle class is hollowed out. That reduces people’s ability to consume and so is a drag on our economies – something that ought to matter to broad-based investors. Of course this economic drag is in addition to the way that unfairness both blights lives and shortens them.

But broad-based investors are not yet responding to the harm caused to their investments by these inequalities and unfairness. It’s hard not to see a reason for this US excess pay lying in some way in the following chart, also from the 100 Most Overpaid CEOs report. In effect, some of the world’s largest investors, particularly those based in the US, are endorsing this manifest unfairness:

At the other extreme of this table are some of the European investors who now oppose the bulk of US pay resolutions. Some I have directly influenced to take such tougher lines. I personally found it wasn’t hard to design a policy on pay voting that led exactly to broad opposition to US pay: if you oppose so-called ‘long-term’ schemes that start paying out in less than 3 years, schemes that pay out for performance that is below average, or where there is no performance element, you find yourself opposing pay at the majority of US companies. It’s odd: none of these expectations seems very much to ask, and most of them are stiffly enforced by investors in various markets outside the US (including those same institutions which seem so weak in the US market), and yet different rules seem to be applied by many to US companies. That result of opposing most pay votes in the US held true even before I added a view about a maximum level of pay in any single year.

While the majority face pay stagnation and precarious work, a few enjoy untold riches. Pioneer activist investor and campaigner Bob Monks has noted the insanity of this: in effect it means that a few years of work by some individuals can earn them enough that their children’s children need never work. That’s hardly reflective of the American Dream.

Instead of being concerned about these manifest unfairnesses, billionaire Moritz argues that the Apple vote is evidence that ISS and Glass Lewis – the world’s leading advisers to institutional investors on how they might choose to approach voting matters – are acting as both judge and jury. Their recommendations against the resolution were the determining factor for how the votes fell, he suggests.

This is nonsense. I’m no apologist for ISS and Glass Lewis. I took the services of both over the years and had multiple disagreements with each; ISS in particular has been poor at handling conflicts of interest, and it does have far too dominant a position in so-called proxy advice (its market share is usually estimated at around 80%). Yet to suggest 34% of shareholders at Apple had abdicated their responsibility to take a decision and just leant entirely on the advisers recommendations is simply wrong.

Let’s be honest: investors do on occasions lean very heavily on ISS and Glass Lewis, or their other voting advisor(s) of choice. That is particularly true when faced by the height of the voting season (which Apple’s meeting preceded but we are just about to enter), when for many investors there will be dozens of meetings to be voted every day, and it is particularly true also of the long tail of small investments in small companies that many institutions have. But to imagine that it’s true in relation to votes at the largest company in the world at a time out of sync from the broader voting season is unrealistic.

ISS and Glass Lewis are not judge and jury. Usually, their work amounts to a judge’s summing up of the evidence, and the shareholders themselves act as the jury (though with no obligation to reach consensus, let alone unanimity). The simple evidence of the votes on the various shareholder resolutions at the Apple AGM shows this: ISS recommended that investors should vote in favour of five such shareholder proposals and yet the votes in favour of these varied from 31.7% for to 53.6% for. The last, calling for a civil rights audit, reflects broadly held concerns about allegations of Apple’s mistreatment of black employees, and its apparent racial unfairness.

There were good reasons to oppose the Apple executive pay vote. Among them were: not only is Cook’s share award of $75 million extraordinary, his pay generally is generously above that of peers; though the share award is said to cover a 10 year period Cook is permitted to keep it if he retires ahead of that, and at 61 he is already allowed to retire (to be fair, he forfeits it if he retires within a year of the award); and the vote covers other executives too, who each received pay identical to each other – suggesting that there is no rigorous assessment of performance involved in their awards at all. Let’s not get into the generous perks that sit on top of the generous pay, such as Cook’s extensive use of an executive jet for personal purposes, estimated to be worth $700,000 in the year.

The reasons to oppose the pay vote hold true even though as Moritz notes Apple’s valuation has risen from $360 billion to $2.4 trillion over Cook’s tenure. As well as sound management, there are some other small reasons for this rise, not least the pumping up of share prices generally because of quantitative easing by the world’s central banks, and the technology tailwind from the pandemic. Cook was awarded 100 million shares when he took over the job in 2011, then valued at around $370 million and now worth billions. Some might suggest he has already been well-compensated for his stewardship of the business. Others will note that the value creation that there has undoubtedly been is not down to one individual but to a broader workforce, including those within the Apple supply chain.

It’s also a dangerous game to suggest that executive pay should be driven purely or mainly by share price valuations from time to time. At the time of writing, Apple’s share price is down around 10% this year. I’m sure Michael Moritz would not suggest that Tim Cook should be paying money back to the company.

US executive pay truly is insane, and billionaires may not be the best persons to judge what is fair and unfair in respect of it.

See also: Funds facilitate unfair pay

Resentment and rents: fairness in executive pay

Twelfth night, or whatever you want, CEO

Tim Cook pay vote shows ISS should not be judge and jury, Michael Moritz, Financial Times, March 9 2022

The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs 2022, As You Sow, February 2022

Apple proxy statement, January 6 2022

Apple 8K filing on shareholder meeting results, March 3 2022

Unfair trials: justice in the dock

The law, like history, is written by the victors. It acts to protect wealth, even sometimes wealth that appears ill-gotten. It should protect the weak against the strong, but a series of recent situations suggest that the law may too often be supporting the strong and operating to the detriment of the weak. Its cheerleaders will claim that fairness is inherent in the law, but sadly it seems, that is not always true. In practice, not everyone gets a fair trial, or fair treatment under the law.

That’s become very apparent in recent days, as Russian oligarchs use legal threats to avoid being named in the media as being close to President Putin and potentially implicated in his misdeeds. It’s true too in the case of Charlotte Leslie, former Conservative MP for Bristol North West, who is being effectively muzzled and bullied through legal means because, she suggests, she questioned whether the party should be willing to work with an individual who (as revealed by the Panama papers) has an association with the agreement under which Swedish telecoms firm Telia supplied services in Uzbekistan – over which the company has admitted bribery. It may be similarly apparent in the recent decision of the Supreme Court to bar Bloomberg from disclosing the existence of a regulatory investigation that implicated an senior individual in a UK business (even if the Bloomberg headline responding to the decision does seem a little hyperbolic – UK Judges are Helping the Next Robert Maxwell).

As a law graduate who then spent nearly a decade editing legal journals, I have long had a lot of faith in the law, and in the concept of the Rule of Law. That’s the idea that all, including those with power, are subject equally to the law, and that the law should be applied fairly to all – with structures in place to ensure that fairness can indeed be delivered procedurally. The Rule of Law, put in the simplest terms, is fairness. But these situations tend to suggest that, as in other parts of our economies, the wealthy have a significant advantage over others. Money can skew this playing field just as it does others.

And sadly it seems that the wealthy and powerful using the law to overwhelm those weaker than themselves is not restricted to oligarchs. It is not just done by individuals eager to protect their personal reputations. Perhaps the most egregious recent example is now being played out in a belated public inquiry – and it is worse than the other situations mentioned above, because it subverts that very foundation of our trust in the law, the right to a fair trial in a criminal case.

The public enquiry is so belated that the Post Office Fujitsu Horizon scandal is now decades old, although most people will not have heard of it till recently. It dates back to 2000, yet only Private Eye and Computer Weekly have been covering the scandal for any period of time. Even as an avid reader of Private Eye for decades, and so hearing a steady drumbeat about the scale and nature of this scandal, I was shocked by the details revealed in the court judgements.

Soon after a new IT system was introduced to the UK Post Office (the consumer-facing mail transactions and financial services operation, which is often run at an individual business level by local shopkeepers known for these purposes as sub-postmasters), problems began to emerge. Rather than trust its workforce, or its systems for assessing their reliability, the Post Office attributed these errors to human error, or indeed fraud. This continued even as the numbers of these errors continued to build up. Between 2000 and 2014, the Post Office prosecuted (oddly, it had powers to mount private prosecutions) 736 sub-postmasters – and many more chose to remedy shortfalls in the system out of their own pockets to avoid prosecution. Even after 2014, when the Post Office stepped back from prosecuting individuals, it continued to fight calls for legal redress. Even now, though the failings of the Horizon system have been publicly exposed, only a handful of those who were wrongly prosecuted have gained legal absolution. Others who were equally wronged still have their names unfairly sullied. There is manifest injustice – unfairness – in the delay in clearing these individuals who have been so badly treated.

A failure to remedy a wrong from 2014 to the present day would be one thing. But it’s worse than that. It’s apparent from the cases that the Post Office as an organisation was aware of issues with Horizon from at least 2001, and yet it continued with prosecutions.

It’s no wonder that the crucial Court of Appeal decision last year, Hamilton v Post Office, found not just that “a fair trial was not possible” but also agreed that “it was an affront to the public conscience for the appellants to face prosecution”. Shocking, judicially enforced unfairness was allowed to persist for 20 years and more in some cases. The Court of Appeal leans on years of remarkable and detailed judgements by Fraser J in a series of cases collectively referred to as Horizon Issues (perhaps the most striking is Bates v Post Office Judgement 6).

Fraser J is not prone to overstatement, but his views of the Post Office and those individuals implicated by the scandal are coldly clear. He is transparently frustrated by the approach of the Post Office legal team, and in the documentation the Post Office provided to the claimants, saying in his very understated way: “I have gained the distinct impression that the Post Office is less committed to speedy resolution of the entire group litigation than are the claimants.” He is bluntly clear in his dismissal of some of the witnesses called by the Post Office. It is Fraser J who notes clear evidence that the organisation was aware of issues with Horizon as early as 2001, which is the date of a detailed IT error report (known internally as a PEAK) setting out the substance of the issues. And yet the prosecutions went on for more than a decade.

He does conclude that the Post Office suffered from “a simple institutional obstinacy or refusal to consider any possible alternatives to their view of Horizon, which was maintained regardless of the weight of factual evidence to the contrary.” His most direct comment is to say about this view that: “It amounts to the 21st century equivalent of maintaining that the earth is flat.”

Others who have followed this scandal and tried to expose it are more blunt and excoriating. A particularly striking headline from Computer Weekly was Post Office CEO either knew what was going on in Horizon scandal, or was ‘asleep at the wheel’ (and it certainly seems appropriate that Paula Vennels stood down from her public roles following the Court of Appeal’s judgement in Hamilton). Barrister Paul Marshall’s speech to the University of Law is if anything even less forgiving. At its simplest level, the miscarriages of justice arose because there was an unchallenged assumption that if the IT system said there was a shortfall, then there must be a shortfall. It is a remarkable failure of imagination – perhaps even a delusional confidence in technology – to fail to consider that the evidence of an IT system might be wrong. Yet both the Post Office, and the English courts, suffered from that failure, that delusion. That is the heart of this particular unfairness.

As Marshall puts it: “The first problem that the Post Office litigation painfully exposes is that English judges and English lawyers commonly do not understand the propensity of computers to fail.” As Marshall rightly notes, the truth is that technology is as fallible as humankind, and tends to embed the same unfairnesses as exist in the human world. One hopes that our country’s lawyers will rapidly remedy their error. Otherwise our increasingly technology-beholden world will deliver many more such unfair judgements.

These situations seem strongly suggestive that the law is being used to perpetuate unfairness. It’s hard not to conclude that if the law is to live up to the fairness promised by the Rule of Law, it must do better. More on this in due course.

No one is safe from the rich elite’s abuse of British law. Just ask Charlotte Leslie, The Guardian, January 22 2022

Bloomberg v ZXC, [2022] UKSC 5, Supreme Court

UK Judges are Helping the Next Robert Maxwell, Bloomberg, February 16 2022

Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

The Rule of Law, Tom Bingham, Penguin 2011

Hamilton v Post Office [2021] EWCA Crim 577, Court of Appeal

Bates v Post Office Judgement 6, Rev 1 [2019] EWHC 3408 QB, High Court

Post Office CEO either knew what was going on in Horizon scandal, or was ‘asleep at the wheel’, Computer Weekly, May 4 2021

Marshall spells it out: speech to University of Law, June 4 2021, Post Office trial blog

The Great Post Office Scandal, Nick Wallis, Bath Publishing 2021

The Consumer Duty II – the FCA further unpacks fairness

The Financial Conduct Authority – the UK’s financial regulator – is moving towards finalising its proposed Consumer Duty. It is welcome that the FCA is holding firm against suggestions from some (happily not all) in the industry that it is asking too much or that the proposal would over-protect consumers and remove competition. Instead, the regulator is continuing to insist that the industry must be fair to its customers.

The updated proposals are set out in a Consultation Paper, CP21/36, on which response are requested by February 15th. This is a further reflection on the FCA’s plans now it has had a chance to consider the responses to its earlier consultation, CP21/13 (discussed in FCA unpacks fairness: the Consumer Duty). The FCA reminds us of various ways in which the financial services industry has mistreated consumers by dealing with them unfairly, including:

  • Firms exploiting consumers’ behavioural biases
  • Firms selling products not appropriate for those to whom they are sold
  • Firms selling products that do not offer fair value
  • Firms providing such poor customer support that consumers are in effect hindered from taking the right decisions or rectifying the wrong ones
  • Firms exploiting customer loyalty or inertia

Sadly, in each of these cases the FCA identifies multiple real-life examples of industry misbehaviour and consumer harm.

It is welcome that the FCA has not been blown off-course and is proceeding largely as it proposed. It is particularly welcome that it is not pandering to calls from some in the financial services industry for more detailed rules, for example in relation to deciding what amounts to fair value for consumers. Instead, the FCA is insisting on the industry being willing to exercise professional judgement. Fundamentally, that professional judgement must be exercised to put the interests of consumers higher up in their considerations than many companies previously have.

In particular, arguments that the proposals might limit competition are, rightly, given short shrift. Competition is fostered by treating customers fairly, ensuring that they can understand and trust what is going on. That is a necessary condition for real competition to function. I would therefore firmly endorse the following response to the argument (in paragraph 2.20 of the latest consultation) that a Consumer Duty might be in some way anti-competitive:

“We think the Consumer Duty will create a fairer and more consumer-focused playing field on which firms can compete and innovate in pursuit of good consumer outcomes. Competition can more effectively act in the interests of consumers where firms design products and services to meet consumer needs, and consumers are put in a position to make informed decisions and act in their interests. We do not think there is good reason to think this will reduce the intensity of competition.”

However, it is with regard to the proposed Consumer Principle where some reconsideration may still be needed. The proposed Principle is left as originally drafted: ‘A firm must act to deliver good outcomes for retail clients’. That’s in spite of the suggestion – apparently made not just by this blog – that ‘fair outcomes’ might be a better aim than ‘good’ ones.

This is odd, because the FCA accepts that not all outcomes for consumers will be good (it mentions the repossession of a house or a situation of money being lost on an investment). Its reasoning (in paragraph 5.24) that this is OK because “Our focus is on firms acting reasonably to deliver good outcomes” would carry more weight if the draft principle actually included the word ‘reasonably’. This is one area where this blog might have sympathy with comments from the industry that the standard the FCA seems to be asserting seems excessively absolute. Once again, asking firms to deliver fair outcomes would seem a more appropriate standard, as well as employing this blog’s favourite word.

The fact that the Consumer Principle lies at the heart of the Consumer Duty – it is the lodestar to guide all industry judgements – means that getting its drafting right matters crucially. I would again commend ‘A firm must act to deliver fair outcomes for retail clients’ as a better option, one that insists on judgement being exercised, both by the industry and by retail customers (who crucially must of course have the necessary transparency and understanding to enable them to exercise that judgement).

See also: FCA unpacks fairness: the Consumer Duty

A new Consumer Duty: Feedback to CP21/13 and further consultation (CP21/36), Financial Conduct Authority, December 2021

A new Consumer Duty (CP21/13), Financial Conduct Authority, May 2021

Fair Play, the play – and the mistreatment of Caster Semenya

Two young women train themselves obsessively hard on the running track, barely giving themselves time to grow up in the midst of giving their all to competition. They sacrifice much in the hope that they might achieve their dream of Olympic triumph. That is, until one of them, on the threshold of international breakthrough, finds the dream stolen from her by the judgement of the sporting authorities that she is not enough of a woman, but is instead “some monster…abnormal”.

This is the story told affectingly in the excellent new play Fair Play, produced at the wonderful Bush Theatre in London. It’s a story told in small vignettes, snapshots of the pain of training and occasional glory of success as the women develop over years. We knit these scenes together and find ourselves deeply invested in the individuals and in their relationship (challenged as it is). That’s helped by a pair of highly engaging performances from NicK King as Ann and Charlotte Beaumont as Sophie.

The play takes obvious inspiration, as well as from author Ella Road’s own experiences as a junior athlete, from the case of South Africa’s Caster Semenya. Semenya stormed the world of women’s middle distance running until cruelly public steps to disqualify her from competitions for perceived ‘excess’ levels of testosterone, due to her hyperandrogenism.

Ann’s suffering at facing a similar ban is clear: “I found myself removed from the one category I thought I was part of, the one party I was pretty sure I was invited to.” And she challenges Sophie – and the audience – to consider whether this particular line is drawn fairly. She points out that elite athletes benefit variously from specific genetic advantages, such as their height, the efficiency of their muscles, and their ability to deal with lactic acid. These advantages are deemed on the fair side of the competitive line while others are not.

These decisions are particularly hard on women of colour, Ann asserts. She notes that none of the female athletes excluded for conditions similar to Semenya’s are white, that sport’s definitions of femininity are set mostly by men. “The Empire might have died but they’re still doing a pretty good job of colonising our bodies,” she rages.

And unfairness of other forms is also wholly accepted. Ann notices the comfortable middle class upbringing that Sophie has enjoyed, the safe foundations on which her life and her running has been built. This helped Ann understand how Sophie always acted “as if there weren’t any cracks to fall through, as if everything would turn out all right”. Ann complains that after her disqualification, in spite of those unfair benefits it was Sophie who got to talk to the media about fairness.

It is right that we feel uncomfortable watching this. For many, it challenges pre-conceptions. As Jesse Wall of the Auckland Faculty of Law points out, none of the people who compete in elite sport can really be considered ‘normal’. They have trained their bodies to deliver performances beyond what could be considered an ordinary range. And in most (perhaps all) cases they had a starting point of talent and genetic advantage that gave them a personal step-up, and attracted them to their sport in the first place. It is seeing the extraordinary achievements of these extraordinary people that creates much of the joy of watching elite athletics. The sporting playing field is never entirely level. When we accept so many advantaged positions and choose to exclude some individuals on the basis of their particular starting advantages, we definitely are making a choice. That choice may or may not add to the sum of the world’s fairness.

It is particularly striking that this choice has been made given that there is some debate as to whether testosterone gives an athlete any advantage at all. It may be that the issue only arose for the sport because heightened testing gradually pushed cheats towards using natural hormones instead of the prior drugs, such as steroids. That was a different world: I recall feeling cheated having watched the victories of the doped athletes of East Germany, and the performances of others where doping was later proved. I do not feel the same in thinking back to Semenya’s performances; her running was clearly her very natural gift. Ironically, two of Semenya’s gold medals (for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 London Olympics) were only awarded after the athlete who crossed the line ahead of her – Mariya Savinova – was shown to have been part of Russia’s systematic drug cheating regime. Semenya then was robbed and it’s hard not to think she was robbed again by her ban from the sporting authorities. In seeking to be fair to her female competitors, those authorities were not fair to Semenya, and nor were they in Fair Play to Ann.

For self-isolation reasons I only got to see the play late in its run, which has now ended. But it is to be streamed online between February 7th and 12th. I would highly recommend it.

Apologies if the quotes I have captured are not wholly accurate. I caught them to the best of my ability.

See also: Playing fair: the oddly inequitable world of team sport

Caster Semenya: ‘Once I thought she was cheat. Now I’m sure she belongs in women’s athletics’, Fernando Duarte, BBC, 11 September 2020

Caster Semenya and a level playing field, Jesse Wall, Journal of Medical Ethics Vol 46 No 9, September 2020

Online stream of Fair Play, 7-12 February 2022

Unfairness fosters conspiracy thinking

Surely it can be no coincidence that Novak Djokovic, one of the world’s leading tennis players, was – temporarily – banned from Australia because of his unvaccinated status (and apparent vaccine scepticism) on the first anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection in the US, which was founded on dual conspiracy theories about a supposedly stolen Presidential election and a dominant cabal in the nation? According to some theories, both events also happened to occur the day after the point at which control was to be asserted over all vaccinated people, turning them into zombies. This too is surely no coincidence?

The world is flooded with conspiracy theories. So much so that it is not hard to believe that some might imagine a conspiratorial connection behind these random coincidences. Though many will blame social media, where the algorithm is the echo chamber, there are other foundations for this confusion. A crucial basis for conspiracy theories turns out to be that they thrive because of the extent of our current unfairness. That’s the clear conclusion of a recent paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. In the context of a global pandemic, some of those conspiracy theories are proving lethal.

The academic paper reports a series of studies that identify a strong coincidence between heightened levels of inequality – unfairness – and higher propensities to believe conspiracy theories. It then goes on to demonstrate causation as well as correlation. The researchers’ initial study reveals a reasonably strong correlation between inequality in countries, as measured by the Gini coefficient, and the population of that nation’s propensity to believe conspiracy theories. In a study of more than 500 Australians, the researchers furthermore identify a heightened tendency to believe conspiracy theories among those who perceive their country to be more unequal than among those who see greater fairness, concluding: “the perception of economic inequality … is positively associated with conspiracy beliefs”. This finding is reinforced by further studies on perceived inequality and its impact on conspiracy beliefs.

Overall, these results reflect and reinforce an earlier finding by a UK academic, Hugo Drochon (now at the University of Nottingham), based on a series of YouGov surveys:

“So countries in which inequality is higher and democracy is considered not to be functioning as well as it should – that is, where citizens feel excluded politically and economically – will exhibit higher levels of conspiracy thinking.”

This perhaps should not be surprising. As the world does not conform to our fundamental understandings of how it should work – among other things, our basic assumptions that fairness should prevail, that hard work should pay off, and that merit should be recognised and rewarded – people seek to find reasons for that disconcerting, upsetting reality. These are ideas that have been baked into the human psyche for millennia, so setting them aside is confusing and difficult to resolve. The researchers call this anomie, a sense that the world does not make sense.

Using conspiracy theories as a way of navigating this confusion has real world consequences. The proliferation of conspiracies around vaccines are particularly damaging to health outcomes, both communal and individual. In many ways, the whole pandemic has proven a massive experiment in social norms – the waning and waxing of mask use on the London underground being one insight into how people’s actions clearly influence each other. But the erosion of a willingness to respond to such social pressures, for example through the increasing willingness to challenge others who do wear masks, is a strong sign of growing frustration with others’ views, and growing inflexibility. In the context of a pandemic, the consequences of certain conspiracy theories can be lethal. It is another deadly consequence of unfairness.

The scale of that lethality is potentially indicated in this chart. This is from the vigorous team at Inequality.org (part of the US’s Institute for Policy Studies) and it deliberately tells a powerful story, expressed in its blunt headline. It is clearly a dated snapshot, and is rather selective in its tendency to focus on North America and Europe, but the story it tells seems unlikely to be undermined by any update of the numbers, or cumulative deaths analysis, nor by the inclusion of some of the more obvious omissions (for example, China, India, Japan, South Africa and the UK).

Inequality.org

But to try to address the question of vaccine hesitancy and inequality more directly, I have created the following chart based on publicly available numbers. It maps aggregated unwillingness and uncertainty to take vaccines (from Our World in Data, latest available for each country) against the Gini coefficient (from World Bank, again latest, where available). By eye it is certainly suggestive that there is some association between greater inequality and higher vaccine hesitancy, but to be fair that is largely down to the single outlier – the US, with a Gini over 0.4 and with more than 30% of its population hesitant about vaccination.

The simple fact is that there are too few countries where the World in Data is able to calculate vaccine hesitancy (given the unfairness of vaccine distribution globally, it really only makes sense to calculate hesitancy in developed economies and this dataset includes only 15 countries), and given these have clustered Gini coefficients, there is little that can be clearly concluded from the data. That is, other than it is notable that none of these nations – even the most equal and fair – has succeeded in convincing more than 85% of their populations that vaccination in the face of a dangerous virus is a good thing.

While unfairness fosters them, conspiracy theories are not attractive only for those disadvantaged by society. Djokavic’s vaccine scepticism shows that even the most successful can find them seductive – and I’m sure many of us know extremely smart people who are attracted to at least some of these theories.

It’s not helped by a culture that fuels this thinking. Not least, the tendency to conspiracy thinking is seen by some politicians as an opportunity. Populists seek to foster hatred and anger as a political tool. Rather than seeking to address the underlying causes of that anger, the populist believes that he or she can win greater support by fanning its flames. Often these days, that means encouraging conspiratorial thought. The alternative approach – and the one that this blogger would favour – would be to seek to address the underlying unfairness that helps fuel the conspiracy thinking and sparks the anger.

If only we could use the frustrations evident in among the conspiracy theorists and use it to address and change unfairness, rather than see this energy being dissipated in what seem daft ideas on such things as zombie-causing vaccines and cannibalistic cabals. Unfortunately, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology study showed that a greater belief in conspiracy theories only leads to a narrow encouragement towards actions to address inequality, as if conspiracy thinking ensures that the energy arising from unfairness is dissipated in other ways.

The world does need change. It needs to be more fair. But being drawn into conspiracy theories saps the energy from addressing this core issue. In contrast, addressing unfairness could free people from the unhappiness that leads them into some very peculiar conspiracy beliefs – and in the context of the global pandemic has the direct opportunity to save lives through encouraging more pro-social behaviour.

“Our results suggest that the building of more equal societies is one way in which we can tackle the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories,” the researchers conclude, and so will this blogpost.

See also: The missing actions on vaccine fairness

The impact of economic inequality on conspiracy beliefs, Bruno Gabriel Salvador Casara, Caterina Suitner, Jolanda Jetten, January 2022, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 98(4)

Who believes in conspiracy theories in Great Britain and Europe? Hugo Drochon in Joseph Uscinski (ed), Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe them, 2018, Oxford University Press

Inequality.org

Willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Dec 15 2021, Our World in Data

World Bank Gini coefficient estimates

To combat conspiracy theories, fight social decay and inequality, Edward Knudsen, 26 October 2020, Dahrendorf Forum

Disinformation, Misinformation and Inequality-Driven Mistrust in the Time of COVID-19: Lessons Unlearned from AIDS Denialism, J. Jaiswal, C. LoSchiavo, D. C. Perlman, AIDS Behav. May 2020

Shelter in place? Depends on the place: Corruption and social distancing in American states, Oguzhan Dincer, Robert Gillanders, Social Science & Medicine, January 2021

Mother Nature’s recipes

An interesting organisation called the Fairness Foundation was recently launched, to promote the centrality of fairness to the world we need to be building, for ourselves and for our children. Actually, the Foundation’s focus – for the time-being at least – is the UK rather than international, so that ‘world’ doesn’t quite (yet) have its usual geographical reach.

The Foundation has at the centre of its messaging 5 core elements, which it calls the Fair Necessities. These are powerful and simple concepts, which chime well with people’s thinking but which would lead to dramatic shifts in politics and behaviour:

“We propose a definition of fairness in terms of five ‘fair necessities’ that could form the basis of an organising philosophy that most people in Britain would support. This in turn could underpin a platform for root and-branch reform of the way that our society and economy is organised, which could draw support from a wide range of political traditions and parties,” it explains.

The Foundation goes on to say: “Most people recognise that the society we live in is increasingly unfair. The majority of people believe that everyone should have the same opportunities to succeed, and that social and economic inequalities have become so stark that this is often no longer possible.” It notes current UK failings of fairness across democracy, education, environment, health, housing, justice, social security, taxation, wealth and work, and starts to set out ways forward on these. It also emphasises how universal is the sense of fairness, and the need to reflect it in political platforms. Clearly, this blogger would agree on the scale of the problem of unfairness – that’s why I have long been focusing on fairness as a way through our current challenges, addressing many of these same issues. It’s very welcome to see others so forcibly joining in making these arguments.

The Fair Necessities are a powerful and simple set of messages, and a strong beginning for the new organisation. I for one look forward to seeing how the Fairness Foundation develops. It is eager to use the political moment created by the coronavirus pandemic, when we are all more conscious of the unfairness around us, to press for change:

“We need to change the terms of the debate, as well as changing policies. Building a fairer society will not only generate significant social and economic returns; more fundamentally, it is a moral duty of the state to ensure that everyone has equal life chances…Fairness is the key organising logic that underpins how we can (and must) build a positive future for humanity.”

I’m told there’s no plan to write the lyrics to a full version of a Fair Necessities song, based on Baloo’s Bare Necessities in the Disney version of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. That seems a shame; as the title of this blog suggests, not every word of the original would need to be changed. Further, we could all do with rather fewer worries and strife; greater fairness must be one way towards achieving that.

The Fairness Foundation

The Fair Necessities discussion paper, November 2021, The Fairness Foundation

Fairer futures

“Every board needs to be exposed to things that make them uncomfortable, and make them realise how disproportionately comfortable we are.”

These are the words of my friend Mark Goyder, who was consistently challenging when he led think tank Tomorrow’s Company, and who remains challenging now. The words are quoted in a recent remarkably accessible report, What is the role of business in creating a fairer future?, from Board Intelligence, a tech business that provides a portal for board papers and reporting.

Based on more than a dozen roundtable discussions including over 100 business leaders from a full range of scales and natures of organisations (most of them much more senior than me), the report is deeply engaging and challenging. Perhaps it is invigorated by the fact that the discussions included not just established individuals but also 60 future leaders. In my experience, the very way in which Board Intelligence sought to have the conversations ensured that they were rich and inclusive rather than narrow in focus.

“Not only are most businesses not doing enough to tackle unfairness, in many cases — such as climate change — they’re exacerbating it,” the report reads. It challenges us all to do better in terms of opportunity, environment and technology, recognising the need to address the constraints imposed by the current way we assess what is valued, and the way in which leaders are insulated from many people’s ordinary lives, and the consequences of their decision-making.

There is much that is highly thought-provoking in what is a short report. I particularly liked this simple comment from the ever-thoughtful Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, now a non-executive director at St James’s Place: “I’d like to make the mission of every company: people working for them didn’t need government handouts to survive.” The discussion of opportunity and how to unpick barriers to opportunity, and to stop them developing once again, is especially powerful.

And I really like one of the very simplest ideas in the paper, of adding an empty chair at the board table. It reflects the beautiful old tradition, typical in remote rural communities where mutual assistance is provided without being asked, of always being ready to welcome an unexpected guest. But in this case the guest is an implicitly excluded one: the stakeholders who are not represented within the board room. The chair is a reminder that there are other voices that are not heard and need at the very least to be considered.

This feels like an interesting beginning, though it is only that. It’s welcome that the Board Intelligence bunch are committed to pursuing these discussions further and trying to uncover ways that companies can practically deliver more fairness. They invite us all to get involved.

What is the Role of Business in Creating a Fairer Future?, December 2021, Board Intelligence

Report launch webinar