Steward-ownership

A company should serve its own purpose

Steward-ownership is a way of creating the foundation of ownership of a company. The core of steward-ownership is that a company is 'self-owned' and exists to serve its purpose. Steward-ownership is the best way to safeguard a company's purpose.

Steward-ownership principles

Self-governance

Voting rights are in the hands of stewards who are close to the company. Voting rights cannot be sold.

Profit serves purpose

Profits cannot be privatized and are reinvested in the company or donated to serve the mission of the company. Investors and founders are fairly compensated.
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Stewards

Stewards who are close to the mission of the company, have the responsibility for the company's development. They (temporarily) hold the formal voting rights that normally lies with shareholders. Stewards have no incentive for profit maximisation.
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Investors

Investors participate in the company's purpose. They have no or limited control over the company's course. This way profit follows purpose. Profit is distributed to investors or reinvested in the company according to transparent agreements.
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Purpose

The company exists to serve its purpose. With the elimination of short-term incentives for profit maximization and putting the purpose front and center, the company can fully focus on realizing its long term goals and maximizing positive impact.
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Guardianship

The steward-ownership structure is enshrined and protected, for example by issuing a golden share to a foundation. This can prevent the company from being sold as a commodity in the future.

Steward-ownership models

The principles of steward-ownership can be legally implemented in various ways. The three main models:
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Golden share

Voting rights are held by stewards and can never be sold. Investors can however obtain economic rights. A foundation holds a golden share to safeguard the structure. An example of a Dutch company using this model is Beterboeken.
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Neutralised capital

The economic ownership over the company is held by a foundation. The capital of the company is in this way 'neutralised'. The voting rights are held by stewards and can never be sold. An example of a Dutch company using this model is The Shore.
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Shareholder foundation

The complete company - or a majority of the voting rights - is in the hands of a foundation with a strong governance structure, making the foundation a responsible owner. An example of a Dutch company using this model is Triodos Bank.

Anchor your purpose

Help build a more mutual economy. Whether you are running a start-up or an existing company, steward-ownership brings the interests of all stakeholders in line with the company's purpose. With steward-ownership, profit is not the objective, but a means to maximize positive impact in the short and long term. If we are serious about equality and the sustainable transitions that our world now faces, then steward-ownership is the foundation on which to build on.
Interested to take real ownership? We are happy to help you!
We all are stewards
We help progressive entrepreneurs and investors to make successful use of steward-ownership