The leak of Justice Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade has generated a significant media frenzy as well as raised the issue in the ESG era. Without downplaying anything related to pro-life versus pro-choice, it is a bigger issue than Roe v. Wade as my boss Liz Dunshee brought forward. Without a consistent federal foundation on the topic, the draft ruling risks setting up a system where civil rights differ based on what state you’re in, as also pointed out in this Politico piece:
The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted in February would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.
It seems like the impact could also be similar to Ukraine: are companies going to base location and operation decisions on state laws on this topic? How does that affect assets and revenue opportunities? Companies may choose to exclude doing business with other companies that have pro-life or pro-choice programs or are located in pro-life or pro-choice states – depending on which way that customer company leans.
So how might companies navigate this complex, emotional and evolving situation? We’ll certainly be monitoring this matter.
Civil rights audits will likely be in higher demand from ESG focused investors, and have new dimensions to consider. More companies should consider being prepared to face these demands. Our recent webcast Understanding & Using Equity and Civil Rights Audits can help companies begin planning for such audits. The webcast covers:
- Understanding different types of audits: civil rights, racial equity, pay equity
- Why investors are pushing companies to conduct & disclose audits
- Pros & cons of pursuing an audit
- In-house versus outside consultant involvement