Creating guardrails to protect our common interest

the shareholder commons is tackling capital system failures that are endangering our future

Free market capitalism has made us healthier and wealthier for more than two centuries. But there is growing recognition of the costs we are paying for short-sighted business decisions that prioritize profits over our natural environment and human needs.

CAPITALISM IN CRISIS

MARKETS CONTINUE TO SEE EXTREME PROFITS EVEN AS ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL SYSTEMS WEAKEN

Trust in market systems deteriorates while current business approaches to sustainability fail to address the systemic issues. In an increasingly stressed and stratified society, business as usual is not tenable.

On the morning of April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, the eight-story garment factory, came crashing down, killing over 1,100 workers.

130 Americans per day die from overdoses of opioids or synthetic opioids.

In 2019, humanity emitted more carbon than it had in 2018.

In 2018, Amazon earned $11.2 billion and paid no federal taxes.

A majority of Americans aged 18-29 do not support capitalism.

The 3 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country.

WE CAN DO BETTER

Preserving Human Dignity and the Earth’s Abundance

The Shareholder Commons seeks to redesign the creative engine of market capitalism to respect the dignity of all human beings and preserve the earth’s bounty. We believe capital markets should distinguish between profits earned through authentic value creation and profits that come from unsustainable and inhumane practices.

AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH

COLLECTIVE ACTION

Preservation of our common resources requires collective action, not unilateral disarmament by the individual businesses. Current market structures do not permit individual companies to focus on systemic issues when it harms them competitively. Without some means to overcome these pressures, too many businesses will continue to exploit common environmental and social resources.

COLLECTIVE ACTION

Preservation of our common resources requires collective action, not unilateral disarmament by the individual businesses. Current market structures do not permit individual companies to focus on systemic issues when it harms them competitively. Without some means to overcome these pressures, too many businesses will continue to exploit common environmental and social resources.

the power of universal owners

By harnessing the power of universal owners—large institutional investors with diversified portfolios that have a financial interest in the well-being of the economy as a whole—we are working to ensure our capital markets give priority to long term systemic health over individual company profits.

the power of universal owners

By harnessing the power of universal owners — large institutional investors with diversified portfolios that have a financial interest in the wellbeing of the economy as a whole — we are working to ensure our capital markets give priority to long term systemic health before individual company profits.

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LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

To allow profit-seeking to serve its vital role in pricing goods and services, universal owners should use collective action to establish minimum standards of sustainable business practices that will establish a level playing field for sustainable competition.

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LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

To allow profit-seeking to serve its vital role in pricing goods and services, universal owners should use collective action to establish minimum standards of sustainable business practices that will establish a level playing field for sustainable competition.

OUR PLAN FOR CHANGE

Modify the discussion of business responsibility in the public arena to include the need for a systemic approach and collective action by investors.

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Modify and clarify the laws and regulations that govern investing, in order to ensure that investors focus on systemic value as well as individual company value.

Promote pre-competitive guardrails by investors and others to ensure that profits come from sustainable behavior, rather than from grazing the global commons.
You Want Us to Ignore What? A Brief Analysis of anti-ESG Political Rhetoric

You Want Us to Ignore What? A Brief Analysis of anti-ESG Political Rhetoric

Politicians are vilifying “ESG investing”. The trigger for the furor is political opportunism: because ESG issues often mirror political issues, it is easy to mischaracterize them as leftist activism. Texas has already incurred $300-500 million in extra interest obligations by boycotting banks that account for climate impact in their underwriting businesses. This political strategy protects corporations that externalize costs with business plans that don’t account for social and environmental costs. These politicians are enriching corporate executives, but risking the savings of workers.

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