· Features

Are anti-woke companies on the rise? Part two

Over the past two years, many social causes have compelled businesses to make political statements. But not everyone has been supportive.

In May, US entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy launched a $20 million anti-woke investment fund to back companies who shy away from taking ideological stands.

Could this indicate a move away from organisations taking a stand against societal issues? Or should companies be encouraged to speak up?


Politics in the workplace:

Pushing for progress: the workplace's role in political and social movements

Social activism could turn the workplace into a ‘wokeplace’

How to make employee activism work for your organisation


Jack Latus, CEO, Latus Health

It’s not particularly important whether this directly leads to an increase in anti-woke companies, what’s really important is the conversation surrounding woke-washing and whether companies truly earn more through performative policies surrounding gender equality and sustainability than they would through saying nothing at all.

The anti-woke investment fund shows that CEOs and their companies profit significantly from the policies they claim to support, with most consumers today trusting and buying from companies that align with their values.

Ramaswamy’s fund perhaps acts as more of a social test to see which companies truly care about policies surrounding gender equality, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability, all of which affect employees, and which are in it for profit.

Ultimately, the companies that truly care about social improvement and the policies affecting the health and wellbeing of their employees will win in the long run.


Daisy Roach, head of HR, Better Food

The problem with this is focusing on profits at the expense of other things – sure, it’s important for businesses to make profits, but what are they willing to sacrifice to do this?

Consumers have the ability to choose where they put their money, so why would they choose to put it into a business that doesn’t support the things they stand for?

If a business has a particular set of values and purpose, my opinion is that it should be throughout everything they do, otherwise they’re at risk of being called hypocrites. There’s definitely been a level of trend towards businesses doing better and making more profit by sharing their values and making meaningful actions and statements (such as Ben & Jerry’s).

Anti-woke businesses are making a statement by the very stance of not having any particular leaning or political action. It’s impossible to remain neutral when the act of neutrality has its own consequences.


Check out part one of this hot topic here.


The full piece of the above appears in the May/June 2022 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.