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.
Overall greenhouse gas emissions from energy rose to their highest ever level in 2021.
Antimicrobial resistance was associated with 5 million deaths in 2019.
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
Preservation of our common resources requires investor voice, not unilateral disarmament by individual businesses. Current market structures limit the ability of an individual company to focus on systemic issues if doing so would compromise its future cash flows. Without strong investor voices pushing back on these pressures, businesses will continue to exploit common environmental and social resources.
Preservation of our common resources requires collective investor action, not unilateral disarmament by the individual businesses. Current market forces do not permit individual companies to focus on systemic issues when it harms them financially. 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.
To allow profit-seeking to serve its vital role in pricing goods and services, diversified investors should use their voices to promote minimum standards for sustainable business practices that will encourage competition through efficiency and innovation.
To allow profit-seeking to serve its vital role in pricing goods and services, diversified investors should use their voices to establish minimum standards for sustainable business practices that will encourage competition through efficiency and innovation.
OUR PLAN FOR CHANGE
public advocacy and field building
The Shareholder Commons advocates for an economic system in which companies and investors are expected to forgo profits that would come from depleting the common resources upon which all companies rely, and instead to focus on profits from authentic value creation.
The Shareholders Commons seeks to catalyze an investor movement to promote sustainable corporate conduct that protects common resources and diversified portfolios.
The Shareholder Commons develops and advocates for public policies that accommodate diversified investors’ needs.
Speaking on behalf of the universal owner in the courts, The Shareholder Commons uses litigation to further systems change and to stop rewards to irresponsible companies in the form of high margins and cheap capital.
As seasoned readers of this newsletter may recall, we’re supporting a lawsuit against Meta Platforms. The case claims Meta’s directors must consider the company’s impact on the economically important systems that support its shareholders’ diversified portfolios. In a...
Poverty wages don’t just undermine workers: inequality perpetuated by low pay at companies such as Walgreens Boots Alliance (NYSE: WBA) threatens the national and global economies with losses that will burden investment portfolios for years to come. Closing the living...
Living Wage & the Engagement Gap Today we publish our new research, “Living Wage and the Engagement Gap,” on the systemic risk of low wages and income inequality to diversified portfolio value, which depends on critical social and environmental systems. Among...
Regular readers know our chief complaint about the investing world: too much emphasis on the individual financial performance of portfolio companies, and too little on how those companies affect the systems that underpin investors’ entire portfolios. When push comes...
Together, we're embarking on a fundamental transformation of our financial system...