JUST Capital is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that is focused on promoting a “stakeholder” theory of capitalism in which large firms are actively engaged in promoting and embodying left-of-center perspectives and policies on social issues. The organization heavily promotes “intersectional” issues, such as gender and racial makeup of staffing, and environmentalism.
Founding and History
JUST Capital was formed in 2013 by a group of businessmen, financiers, and members of civil society in 2013 to promote “stakeholder capitalism” that pushes businesses to advance left-of-center social policy, including countering income inequality and “systemic racism.” Founders included hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones II, author and New Age spiritual figure Deepak Chopra, business executive Rinaldo Brutoco, author and publisher Arianna Huffington, real estate investor Paul Scialla, and public relations executive Alan Fleischmann. 1
At the end of fiscal year 2019, JUST Capital reported $7,322,243 in revenue, of which $7,248,863 was derived from contributions and grants and $57,623 was derived from program service revenue. The organization had $8,094,984 in expenses, of which $5,060,081 was allocated toward salaries and benefits. JUST Capital ended the year with negative assets, having net liabilities of $4,029,857. 2
JUST Capital donors include many left-of-center philanthropy organizations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the MCJ Amelior Foundation, the Volo Foundation, the Zegar Family Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 3
JUST Capital divides its work into three different program areas.
JUST Capital conducts an annual survey of what Americans believe large companies should prioritize when it comes to social behavior. 4 This polling data is then used as the basis for grading criteria where the organization grades and then ranks America’s largest corporations. The firms are ranked overall, and then within their industry. In the 2021 ranking, 835 firms are ordinally ranked, with the bottom 10 percent of firms not having an overall ordinal ranking. The top 10 2021 rankings included Microsoft, Google parent company Alphabet, Apple, and JP Morgan Chase. The bottom 10 percent included well known companies such as McDonald’s, Tesla, and Uber. 5
JUST Capital utilizes its ranking system to drive investment towards companies it has labeled “just.” It does this by providing financial analysis and other financial products to investors and through several index funds and ETFs. 6
JUST Capital works to promote its preferred “stakeholder capitalism” business practices via reports and initiatives. Reports include subjects such as “The Corporate Racial Equity Tracker,” and “The State of Gender and Racial Representation at America’s Largest Companies.” 7
Leadership and Staff
Martin Whittaker is the founder and CEO of JUST Capital. He has worked in leadership capacities at various investment firms and is on the board of the Carbon Disclosure Project. 8 Whittaker is an advocate of “stakeholder capitalism,” arguing that capitalism needs “fixed” and that the focus on shareholder interests leads to short-term profit while not properly addressing the future. In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he argued that the situation would bring about more interest in shareholder capitalism and that there is no longer any need to debate its merits any longer, stating that anyone who disagrees with him is “either lazy in their thinking or blinded by ideology.” 9 He has praised Walmart for announcing a policy of no longer selling handguns or handgun ammunition at its stores, stating that JUST Capital does not take a stance on gun control, but that it supports companies “taking a stand.” 10
- JUST Capital. “About.” Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/about/.
- Just Capital, IRS, (Form 990), 2019, Part I
- JUST Capital. “Partners.” Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/about/our-partners/.
- JUST Capital. “Polling the American People.” Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/polling/.
- JUST Capital. “2021 Rankings.” October 14, 2020. Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/rankings/.
- JUST Capital. “Value of Just Business.” Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/value-of-just-business/.
- JUST Capital. “Reports.” Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/reports/.
- JUST Capital. “Martin Whittaker.” Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/about/team/martin-whittaker/.
- JUST Capital. “Is COVID-19 Killing Shareholder Primacy?” April 10, 2020. Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/news/is-covid-19-killing-shareholder-primacy/.
- JUST Capital. “Walmart Takes a Stand on Guns.” September 5, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2021. https://justcapital.com/news/walmart-takes-a-stand-on-guns/.