Alternative Ownership Enterprises Report


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Our economy is not creating a livable society for most people. It is fueling climate change, worsening wealth inequality, seeding the conditions for emerging threats to democracy, and disempowering working class communities and communities of color.

Many argue compellingly for changing our economic system completely, while others lobby for reform from within. Regardless of one’s perspective on system change, there is an important underlying feature of our economy that is often overlooked by mission-oriented investors: the structure and ownership of the enterprise. Who owns an enterprise, and what rights are associated with that ownership, determines who controls and who benefits from the economy.

The traditional enterprise ownership model–and the investments that are designed for it–are creating an economy that works for the few, not the many. Fortunately, there is a rich body of work which is building new possibilities: Alternative Ownership Enterprises (AOEs).

Alternative Ownership Enterprises are firms that significantly shift economic value and decision-making power toward the non-investor stakeholders they impact, such as workers, producers, consumers, community members, or even a non-financial purpose. They include Employee Ownership models, Multi-Stakeholder Ownership models, Steward Ownership models, and their many variations and hybrids.

This report, with a preface by Kate Raworth, the economist who developed the concept of Doughnut Economics, makes the case for Alternative Ownership Enterprises, and why the time to support them is now. In addition, it lays out the main characteristics of 12 different AOE models, explores their relative differences, and highlights their impacts as it relates to the needs of mission-oriented investors.

An extensive set of annexes shares additional resources, identifies the experts in the field that we consulted as well as provides in-depth information about AOE models and features.