The Shareholder Commons applies a PRE-COMPETITIVE systems approach to corporate purpose and social responsibility.
While today’s ESG (“environmental, social and governance”) initiatives focus on improving individual companies, we believe that in a free market system, investors and companies must work collectively to establish universally applicable minimum standards in order preserve essential social and environmental systems.
The Shareholder Commons will advocate for an economic system where companies are expected to forgo profits made from the exploitation of vulnerable communities and depleting common resources, and instead focus on profits from innovative value creation.
Leveling the playing field
The Shareholders Commons seeks to catalyze a movement of universal owners to identify and implement minimum acceptable standards of corporate conduct that all businesses must meet before pursuing profit.
The Shareholder Commons will develop and advocate for public policies that accommodate the needs of universal owners.
Speaking on behalf of the universal owner in the courts, The Shareholder Commons will use litigation to further systems change and stop rewarding irresponsible companies with high margins and cheap capital.
opportunities for engagement
Investors are trapped in a system where success is measured by alpha, but the race to outperform and lower fees is threatening the systems all companies and beneficiaries rely on. Read here to find a better path.
As long as private capital chases relative return with no regard for systemic effects, direct policies to rein in business exploitation of common resources will be locked in a struggle against regulatory capture evolving technologies and tactics. Read here to learn about policies that reset the way private capital operates, in order to harmonize public and private goals.
While businesses are frequently demonized in discussions about social and environmental issues, corporate attempts to manage impacts are often hampered by shareholder pressure to prioritize financial interests. To learn how you can be part of a movement where shareholders encourage authentic corporate commitment to stakeholders, read here.
Unfortunately, the law and perceptions of the law can lead to corporate and investor behaviors that undercut attempts to address systemic issues through improved business conduct. Members of the legal community with an interest in helping to change this dynamic should read here.
- To get a broad understanding of the theory behind our initiatives, you can check out our two pager, or read this short blog post, this medium-length article, or this longer academic piece.
- To catch up on what we have been doing, check out this archive of our newsletters
- For a case study in how shareholders make a difference: Majority Action, Climate In The Boardroom: How Asset Manager Voting Shaped Corporate Climate Action In 2019
- Two of the leading thinkers today on the problem with the current financial system: J. Hawley & J. Lukomnik, The Long and Short of It: Are We Asking the Right Questions? Modern Portfolio Theory and Time Horizons,
- An authoritative piece explain why all of this matters:UNEP Finance Initiative, Universal Ownership: Why Environmental Externalities Matter to Institutional Investors
- A sensible plan for a capitalism that works for all of us from the former Chief Justice of Delaware: L. Strine Jr., Toward Fair and Sustainable Capitalism
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