“While one should never underestimate the ability of risk-besotted financiers to wreak havoc, the real threat to capitalism isn’t unfettered financial cunning. It is instead the inability (or unwillingness) of executives to confront the changing expectations of their stakeholders about the role of business in society.” Gary Hamel, Foreword to The New Capitalist Manifesto by Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review Press, 2011.
"Adam Smith taught us that capitalism is based on trust. In fact, its main driving force isn’t competitive, but rather the capacity for its actors to create value through cooperation rather than individual effort. But it seems that companies have lost sight of this concept over the years, and now focus on value creation solely for shareholders, and this compromise deprives companies of potential value creating partners." R. Edward Freeman, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, Pitman Publishing, 1984.
“The old narrative, which says business is primarily about competition and profits for shareholders, is no longer useful. This old story of capitalism is broken. We need a new story that goes something like this: Capitalism works because management creates value for stakeholders. Leadership and success is about creating (1) products and services that customers want, (2) relationships with suppliers that make both parties better, (3) jobs for employees that challenge their abilities and treats them with dignity and respect, (4) better communities and good citizenship; and, (5) sustainable profits for shareholders. No stakeholder stands alone. When stakeholder interests conflict, executives need to ask the value creation question, “how can we take the friction from the conflict and use it to innovate, redefine, and create more value for each stakeholder?” When tradeoffs have to be made, we must seek to improve the tradeoffs for both sides, and find another way to create value. In short, creating value in the real world of multiple stakeholders requires a focus on multiple stakeholder responsibility not social responsibility.” R. Edward Freeman, Gregory Fairchild, S. Venkataraman, Jenny Mead, Ming-Jer Chen, Creating Value for Stakeholders, January 2010.
"Put bluntly, conventional shareholder value thinking is a mistake for most firms—and a big mistake at that. Shareholder value thinking causes corporate managers to focus myopically on short-term earnings reports at the expense of long-term performance; discourages investment and innovation; harms employees, customers, and communities; and causes companies to indulge in reckless, sociopathic, and socially irresponsible behaviors. It threatens the welfare of consumers, employees, communities, and investors alike". Lynn Stout, The Shareholder Value Myth, February 2012.
"Intangible assets are very important in this economy. If intangible assets are important to the business, registrants should identify them and explain what management does to develop, protect and exploit them. Operational, non-financial measures can be very effective in explaining to investors the value of a company's intangibles." Robert A. Bayless, Chief Accountant, Division of Corporate Finance, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, "The SEC Speaks in 2001" Sponsored by the Practicing Law Institute, Washington, D.C., 2001.
"Almost 40 years ago, I developed the "stakeholder" theory for businesses. This considers the enterprise as a community, with a number of social groups connected directly or indirectly to the enterprise which are dependent on its success and prosperity. These of course include shareholders and creditors; but employees, customers, suppliers, the state and the society in which the enterprise is active are also stakeholders." Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, The World Economic Forum, A breakdown in our values, The Guardian, January 6, 2010.
"The maturation of the institutional investor community creates both opportunity and responsibility to promote the long-term health of capital markets and, in particular, to pursue investment policies and public policies that empower and encourage business managers and boards of directors to focus on sustainable value creation rather than evanescent short-term objectives." Overcoming Short-termism: A Call for a More Responsible Approach to Investment and Business Management, The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, September 9, 2009. (Note: Signatories included Jack Ehnes, CalSTRS; Rich Trumka, AFL-CIO; Roger Ferguson, TIAA-CREF; Ash Williams, CIO Florida Retirement System)
“Capital stewardship means investing based on the principle that the long-term, sustainable value of any investment requires mutually beneficial cooperation among all those involved, including workers, managers, investors, customers and members of the community. When investors are choosing among comparable investments, workers and their benefit funds may choose those that support working families and their communities and are aligned with their view of value.” AFL-CIO Office of Investment Website (2007)
"We believe reliable and substantial returns can be achieved responsibly without having to bear undue risk or by neglecting the wellbeing of other stakeholders. CORPaTH is founded for the purpose of creating long-term value and wealth for investors, business leaders and employees alike. Working together, we can see a more equitable form of capitalism emerge for the benefit of all." Corporate, Public and Taft-Hartley Pension Fund Alliance, http://corpath.org/our-priorities/