Business leaders call for abolition of the death penalty

Richard Branson looking pensive
John Armstrong
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
25 January 2022
As Utah considers death penalty repeal, over 240 business leaders from all over the world continue their call for death penalty abolition.

Lawmakers in Utah are getting ready to take up an historic Republican-led bill seeking to repeal the state’s death penalty and in conjunction, more than 240 business leaders have declared their opposition to capital punishment.

As shared by the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ), these business leaders have publicly denounced the death penalty as “irreconcilable with human dignity” and an “ineffective misallocation of public resources” - and have signed a declaration calling for its abolition everywhere.

Responsible Business Initiative for Justice
Responsible Business Initiative for Justice

The Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty campaign was launched by Richard Branson last March and since then it has rallied some of the world’s most influential figures to help end the practice.

Supporters of the campaign include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann and Unilever CEO Alan Jope. Here is the full list of signatories and declaration.

The unprecedented support for abolition in Utah demonstrates the extent to which the tide has turned on the death penalty.

Celia Ouellette, founder of RBIJ, shared the following statement about the campaign and its importance at such a crucial time: “The unprecedented support for abolition in Utah demonstrates the extent to which the tide has turned on the death penalty. States, both red and blue, are increasingly waking up to its glaring flaws, and are choosing to stand on the right side of history. By joining the fight, business leaders are doing the same.”

Supporters of the business campaign point to capital punishment’s exorbitant cost in the face of its many failings. This outrage is echoed in the local movement, with Utah’s state and local governments having spent approximately $40 million over 20 years on capital cases – and only funded two sentences.

Sabrina's Near-Death Experience

Concerned business leaders also highlight its considerable reputational cost, with most Americans now in favour of alternative punishments for murder.

Regarding the Utah bill, Richard Branson has said: “Utah has a historic opportunity to do away with a deeply flawed and inhumane form of punishment. By speaking up against the death penalty, business leaders join a broad movement that also includes a growing number of prosecutors and victims’ families. They know first-hand that the death penalty fails to deliver justice. It’s time to end it for good.”

Join the growing movement of business leaders that are coming together to to sign the declaration and end the death penalty.