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The Corporate Political Responsibility Task Force at the University of Michigan

The Erb Institute for Global and Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan pioneered in establishing the first Corporate Political Responsibility Taskforce (CPRT). Under the leadership of Professor Thomas Lyon and directed by Professor Elizabeth Doty, the taskforce intends to help firms effectively manage risks and concerns related to their corporate political activities. This includes the rising reputational risk, escalating pressure, and the increasingly visible systemic risks, but also guiding companies in the question of where to legitimately engage. The goal of the CPRT is to help business better align their political influence with their commitments to values, purpose, sustainability, and stakeholders, thereby shifting from reactive responses to proactive, firmwide approaches. In the light of the increasing political instability in the United States, they consider well-functioning institutions and an economy, where financial performance translates into long-term human well-being to be essential.

Since the launch of the taskforce, the CPRT has discussed among other things political spending, the shortcomings of ESG, and the role of business in countering authoritarian threats. The Taskforce also regularly holds “CPRT Expert Dialogues” in which prominent experts from business, academia, or NGOs debate current topics and fundamental questions surrounding Corporate Political Responsibility.

Further reading from the Taskforce Leader Thomas Lyon and director Elizabeth Doty can be found in our literature recommendations. Most recently, they published on the “Importance of Corporate Political Responsibility” in the MIT Sloan Review.

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