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APCO Worldwide Research Reveals Sharp U.S. Partisan Divide on Corporate Advocacy & Role of Companies

by | Nov 17, 2022

There is strong bipartisan support in the United States for actions by companies that champion the U.S. economy, but a sharp partisan divide exists over the appropriateness of companies taking a stand on ESG issues, according to an APCO Worldwide research report released today.

“This research provides a roadmap for company executives who woke up on November 9th feeling unsure on how to manage this increasingly divisive political environment,” APCO North America President Kelly Williamson said.

The past decade has witnessed disruption—from public health challenges and disinformation campaigns to addressing systemic inequities and managing the impact of climate change—at a significant scale and pace. Increasing demands for stronger action on issues such as climate change and racial injustice created opportunities for companies to step up and lend their voice and action. However, with voices on both ends of the political spectrum challenging the role and efficacy of business in addressing environmental and social challenges, polarization is at an all-time high.

Earlier in October, APCO asked the U.S. general public about their views on corporate advocacy and the role of companies, and the results reveal areas of both consensus and division. The following are some of the key findings:

  1. It is time to recalibrate corporate advocacy.
  2. There is a way to navigate this environment—and the how matters.
  3. All is not lost on ESG, just don’t lead with it.

“With the 2022 election behind us, it is time to rethink the idea that companies need to simply ‘get off the sidelines’ and take a stand on issues—the environment is more complicated than ever before,” Katie Sprehe, senior director in APCO’s research division, APCO Insight, said. “It is far easier to get it wrong, than right, and companies looking to succeed need to start doing their homework.”

Download the full research report, “Pulse Check: It’s Time to Recalibrate—Surprising Truths About Corporate Advocacy.”

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