Giving Compass' Take:

• CEO activism is the practice of corporate CEOs taking leadership roles to champion social causes.

• How can donors and CEOs who are active in the social sector collaborate to increase activism across private sector industries? How will the onset of CEO activism impact corporate social responsibility programs? 

• Read about activist philanthropy: a systems approach to social change.

There is a thin line dividing corporate activism and philanthropy and the two often blur into each other because both expand the scope of a company's branding and its impact on those who may not necessarily be consumers but indirect beneficiaries of the policies and the largesse.

One of the most significant examples of this was the life and work of Dame Anita Lucia Roddick, the iconic British businesswoman and founder of cosmetic brand, the Body Shop. She was a human rights activist, environmental campaigner, a pioneer of ethical business and an advocate of responsible consumerism.  The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and also one of the first to promote fair trade with developing countries.

Apart from building her company into a successful global entity, Roddick actively campaigned for environmental and social issues, supported Greenpeace and in 1990, founded Children on the Edge, a charitable organisation to help disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

So what exactly is CEO Activism? 

According to, CEO Activism is defined by the audible and visible stand that senior leadership takes to speak out on social or humanistic issues that are not directly related to their company’s bottom-line but underscore personal or organizational values. The issues could range from climate change, immigration, to LGBTQ+ rights and counting.

More and more CEOs around the world are realising the importance of earning social equity and are making their voices heard about contentious subjects including LGBTQ rights, gender equality, immigration policies, race-related questions and more.  In a lot of cases, this activism is enthusiastically driven by both employees who work for the said companies and also socially aware consumers.

Read the full article about CEO activism at Money Control.