Corporate Responsibility in the Age of Black Lives Matter

Companies are making the case for doing well in business by doing good. Adapted from the Enterprise Technology Podcast.


In the wake of George Floyd’s death and international protests, many Americans have come to realize just how differently white citizens are treated by our police when compared to people of color. Shocked and appalled, many have been galvanized to help in any way that they can. And it seems our country needs a lot of help right now. 


Beyond the issues of racism that this has brought up, the country has been devastated by COVID-19, economic recession, and the highest unemployment rates since the second World War.


Industry giants like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Verizon have already promised millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter and the NAACP. Individuals are following suit by supporting black-owned businesses and donating their time and money. But as these protests stretch on, there is an unspoken knowledge that the focus on helping and learning will eventually shift away to the next problem, the next news story, the next headline. How can we take the momentum from this crisis and keep moving forwards?


In the current climate, business can no longer be about just doing well, it must also do good. People feel good about working for and purchasing from companies that are socially responsible.


The Nielsen Global Survey found that more than half of the people they surveyed are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies committed to positive social and environmental impact, and that more than ⅔ would prefer to work for these sort of companies.


Translating this into the technology industry, keep these thoughts in mind the next time you consider a software purchase:

  • Is this company only interested in increasing their bottom line and shareholder profits?
  • Is this company committed to making the world a better place through socially conscious programs?
  • What will working with individuals at a business that doesn’t share my values be like?


The value of “voting with your dollar” has been proved many times over. Individuals can influence corporations to make positive changes. Here are just a few examples of extremely successful companies that make a positive impact with donations and social programs.




The world’s most popular search engine, they’ve achieved 100% renewable energy targets since 2017, and they are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. Even prior to the George Floyd incident, they’ve provided many grants for a variety of different causes – including donating more than $2.4 million to the Equal Justice Initiative. This organization is committed to ending racial injustice, mass incarceration, and to protecting basic human rights for people of color in America. 




Microsoft has always donated to philanthropic causes, but they are especially committed to assisting differently abled people. Their program “AI for Accessibility” grants free software, services, and funding for companies who provide a product or service that is tailored to people with disabilities. This is just one aspect of “AI for Good,” which spans causes such as sustainability, humanitarian action, and more.


Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates, has made the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation his pet project since its inception in 2000. To date, the charitable organization has a $46.8 billion endowment. Bill recently left the Chairman position at Microsoft to devote his energies full time to assisting against the COVID crisis.




Tim Cook had big shoes to fill after Steve Jobs’ passing. Despite the pressure, he’s succeeded in increasing shareholder value while also increasing the positive impact of Apple’s social responsibility programs. 100% of the company’s American production is now powered entirely by renewable energy, and 87% of global production. 


He’s also committed Apple to greater transparency surrounding the issues in the production supply chain that have plagued the company in the past, like harsh working conditions and a high rate of suicide amongst factory workers. Under his tenure, Apple has joined the Fair Labor Association, and continues to improve working conditions. 


After a national tragedy, some have attempted to make a partisan issue out of an irrevocable truth: we can all do more to make the world we live in a better place. Corporations and individuals share this burden. In an age of division, we must all join together. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


For more information, check out Why Social Equality & Corporate Responsibility Matters in Your Company.