Virtue signalling corporations – not a happy outcome for shareholders


Companies that play politics really should focus on shareholders. Looking at the performance of companies that virtue signal vs. those that don’t reveals that expressing political views (e.g. Starbucks, Kellogg’s, Qantas, VW, Google, Whole Foods, Unilever etc) leads to under-performance vs S&P100. Over the last 18 months, one can see stocks where CEOs avoid getting embroiled in political posturing outperformed those that did by 17%. After the US Presidential election the same impact was seen. Looking at net profit growth in aggregate since GFC, virtue signalling corporations under-performed their silent cousins as well by a factor of two. Even stripping out VW’s large loss in recent years the impact was muted on the basket. In short, shareholders prefer CEOs to focus on the company rather than preaching political ideals to staff and customers.


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