The Company’s response is nothing if not candid. It doesn’t deny that Meta prioritizes profits over the well-being of its users, the global economy, or its own diversified shareholder base. Instead, the Company argues that the job of a Delaware corporation and its directors is to maximize the value of its own shares, whatever the cost.
Specifically, Meta argues:
“Under well-settled Delaware law, Meta’s directors must govern the corporation so as to maximize long-term value for the corporation… Simply put, the Director Defendants have an ‘obligation to maximize the value of the corporation.’”
This defense directly contradicts proclamations by CEOs and others that corporations engage in “stakeholder capitalism,” where the interests of workers, the environment, communities, and others are balanced with shareholders’ interests. Meta itself makes this claim outside the courtroom: its website promises, “[w]e are committed to protecting what is truly important: the well-being of people and our planet.”
But in its response to the lawsuit, Meta makes it clear that this “commitment” is chimerical; its lawyers believe preserving people and planet cannot get in the way of maximizing the value of its shares of stock:
“While the Board can sometimes consider interests beyond those associated with increasing Meta’s profits in the short term, it may only do so when ‘giving consideration to them can be justified as benefiting [Meta] stockholders.'”
So much for its commitment to the “well-being of the people and the planet.”