Coalition of Business Networks Calls for RESET to Stakeholder Capitalism on Friedman’s 50th Anniversary
Imperative 21 represents 20 million employees and $6.6 trillion in revenue September 10, 2020 (New York, NY)
On September 13th business networks representing more than 70,000 businesses will call for a RESET of our global economic system consistent with the Imperatives for Economic System Change: to design for interdependence; to invest for justice; to account for stakeholders.
The following day, the NASDAQ will begin projecting key indicators of economic success – including biodiversity, living wages, anti-racism, and shared prosperity – on Nasdaq Tower in New York’s Times Square.
These actions will be taken in support of Imperative 21’s RESET campaign. Representing more than 70,000 businesses, 20 million employees, $6.6 trillion in revenue, and $15 trillion in assets under management, Imperative 21 is a new, business-led network driving economic system change.
“Fifty years of shareholder primacy has left us facing a climate emergency, collapse in our natural system, unjust and unsustainable levels of inequality and low trust across society. It is critical that leaders everywhere come together in a RESET where we account for our impact on all stakeholders and recognize the interdependence of people, planet and our economy. We must remove obstacles to justice and make sure we build back better with the many populations our current system has left behind. It will take radical collaboration between the private sector, public leaders and citizens to successfully create the economy we need,” said Halla Tomasdottir, CEO, The B Team and co-chair, Imperative 21.
“The imperative of the 21st century is economic system change,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, executive co-chair, Imperative 21. “Whether we’re fighting for worker wellbeing, climate action, racial justice, gender equity, or long term value creation for shareholders, we need to RESET to stakeholder capitalism.”
The RESET launch date is no accident. Fifty years ago, on September 13th, 1970, the New York Times published an essay by Milton Friedman articulating a doctrine of shareholder primacy. By prioritizing the interests of shareholders above all others, including those who are impacted by the activities of a company, shareholder primacy set the trajectory for our current economic system, which rewards maximizing wealth over wellbeing and prioritizes individualism over interdependence.
As the global health pandemic, economic crisis, and racial justice uprisings – as well as the accelerating climate emergency – have revealed, the system is broken: While more than 300 million workers are currently unemployed, 26 individuals own more wealth than half of humanity.
In response, Imperative 21 has stewarded a co-creation process in collaboration with more than 250 global allies to develop the Imperatives for Economic System Change, which serve as the design objectives for an economic RESET that:
● Recognizes the interdependence of healthy people, planet, and economies; reimagines the relationships between the private sector, government, and civil society; and ensures that everyone has access to free and fair markets.
● Removes structural inequality; ensures leadership and ownership are more representative and investment more accessible; uses technology to advance democratic ideals and human rights; and promotes greater voice, power and opportunity for those currently marginalized.
● Measures success based on credible common metrics of value creation for all stakeholders; creates incentives that reward business and investments creating social and environmental value; and enhances standards of fiduciary duty.
The Imperative 21 network works towards a shared vision of shared wellbeing on a healthy planet, and recognizes that this vision requires a shift from shareholder primacy to stakeholder capitalism and that the shift is critical to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The RESET will be amplified in events at the United Nations General Assembly during the week of September 21th.