As some of you know, I have been contemplating a new venture over the course of the last year. I have now created a nonprofit corporation called “The Shareholder Commons, Inc.” While we hope to have a more formal launch in the fall, I thought it was time to start the conversation.
I am very lucky to be joined by Alan Horowitz, a senior sustainability executive who led teams at AstraZeneca and Microsoft and who is serving The Shareholder Commons as Principal Advisor, Stefanie Loev, our Chief of Staff and Kevin Ninomiya, a research assistant joining us from Santa Clara Law School. Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati has agreed to be our pro bono counsel (Thank you WSGR team!) and B Lab is serving as our fiscal sponsor until we receive nonprofit approval from the IRS. We are also proud to be partnering with the Business in Society Institute at Berkeley Law and its Founder, Amelia Miazad, on multiple projects in the upcoming academic year.
We have created The Shareholder Commons because short-sighted and unsustainable business practices have brought us to multiple crises, chief among them a rapidly warming planet and untenable inequality. With unprecedented wealth concentration, political instability across the West and only eleven years before carbon concentration reaches a level that constitutes an existential threat, we believe that a powerful global movement must quickly implement a meaningful set of social and environmental guardrails that apply to the business community. The current corporate sustainability movement is far too focused on finding solutions one company at a time.
The Shareholder Commons will operate from a belief that institutional investors have the power and motivation to change the face of business, and we will seek to catalyze a movement of these investors that will collaborate with companies in order to establish guardrails for corporate behavior and, when necessary, use the same tools of engagement they have been using over the last twenty years.
As we are just beginning this journey, we could really use some help as we identify leadership in the investing and business communities. Here are a few requests:
1. Please sign up for our monthly newsletter. We will try to make it short and relevant and of course, you can cancel anytime. As an inducement, anyone who signs up in August will receive an e-copy of the Foreword, Introduction, First Chapter and Epilogue to my book.
2. Please forward this email to anyone who might be interested in this project.
3. If this work sounds like it would resonate with any foundations or individuals looking to make a difference through philanthropy with whom you have a connection, an introduction would be wonderful. We believe that our model for systems change is different from what is currently out there and has the potential to make a critical difference.
4. We are looking for $3,500-6,000 for research assistance, including a naming opportunity for a fall assistantship at Berkeley.
Of course, if you have questions or ideas, or want to figure out how to be part of this movement, don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stefie (email@example.com).