Long-established companies such as Bosch and Zeiss, organic food manufacturer Alnatura and, most recently, also the US outdoors company Patagonia all employ steward-ownership. As such, they are pioneers of a type of company that puts control into the hands of a group of employees and ploughs profits back into the organisation as a means of fulfilling their corporate purpose.
The aim behind steward-ownership is to put entrepreneurial purpose and sustainable decision-making above short-term profit maximisation.
Guiding companies towards steward-ownership
The principle of steward-ownership is not yet particularly widespread in Switzerland. However, the Purpose Schweiz project is seeking to change that. With support from the Migros Pioneer Fund, Purpose Schweiz wants to guide companies on the road to steward-ownership and increase their awareness of all related issues. To this end, the project provides advice and open-source materials for the broadest possible adaptation. In addition, the project supports aspiring entrepreneurs in acquiring capital when implementing steward-ownership.
Its services are aimed at start-ups, companies undergoing restructuring and those looking for a successor. Handing the company over to value-oriented employees can enable SMEs, for example, to be managed in line with their purpose in the future.
An attractive option
The goal of Purpose Schweiz is to establish steward-ownership in Switzerland and show that a value-based fiduciary format is a functioning and forward-looking corporate form.
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