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Business Leaders Join Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

Bloomberg Equality

By Crayton Harrison

May 7, 2021, 8:45 AM EDT

Sheryl Sandberg and Marc Benioff, two of the tech world’s biggest names, signed on with a coalition of corporate leaders who are pushing to abolish capital punishment globally.

Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., and Benioff, chief executive officer of Inc., join a group that already includes billionaire Richard Branson, Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz and telecom magnate Mo Ibrahim. The campaign, called the Business Leaders’ Declaration Against the Death Penalty, was organized by the U.K.-based Responsible Business Initiative for Justice and debuted in March.

The group has been recruiting corporate chieftains to the cause because companies have been more inclined in recent years to weigh in on issues they used to avoid, such as systemic racism and voting rights. The death-penalty debate is linked to racial justice because of sentencing disparities, and taxpayers pay excessive legal costs to support capital punishment, the executives say.

“I oppose the death penalty because it is cruel and disproportionately impacts people and communities of color,” Sandberg said in a statement. “We can build a more just future by ending the death penalty and reforming our broken criminal justice system.”

Unilever Plc CEO Alan Jope and his predecessor, Paul Polman, are also among the signatories. The founders of the company’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, were part of the group announced in March.

Other names on the list include Bayer AG CEO Werner Baumann and AirAsia Group Bhd CEO Tony Fernandes.


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