Tag Archives | co-op

Mark Zuckerberg: Give Up Facebook Control

Mark Zuckerberg, the social media titan, needs to embrace a new model of ownership and corporate governance.

As Mark Zuckerberg comes to terms with his latest public-relations disaster, he has made some interesting admissions. One is that the Facebook CEO feels “fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world,” as he told Recode. This sentiment echoes his manifesto on the future of Facebook from earlier this year, in which he called for “a system of more local governance,” for the same reason: He can’t figure out by himself how to set standards of behavior for Facebook’s more than 2 billion monthly active users. Continue Reading →

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Shared Ownership Can Address Unequal Economy

How Shared Ownership Reforms Can Address Popular Anger about an Unequal Economy

In May 2017, U.S. Senators Sanders, Leahy, Gillibrand, and Hassan introduced legislation intended to help workers become owners. Their bill calls for a national employee ownership bank and helps states develop employee ownership centers. This comes after a dozen major cities and nearly as many states have acted to reduce barriers to shared ownership business models that offer an alternative to the investor-owned corporation. Promising approaches include employee stock ownership plans, worker-owned cooperatives, and community-owned renewable energy cooperatives. Continue Reading →

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What Ought to Be: Why Grow Up?

Why Grow Up? between what is and what ought to be

Why Grow Up? between what is and what ought to be

According to Susan Neiman, the most important distinction in the world is the difference between what is and what ought to be. Recognizing that distinction is central to the process of growing up. (Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age)

You need not be Peter Pan to feel uneasy about the prospect of becoming adult. Indeed, it’s easy to argue that Peter Pan, most drastically imitated by Michael Jackson, is an emblem of our times. Being grown-up is widely considered to be a matter of renouncing your hopes and dreams, accepting the limits of the reality you are given, and resigning yourself to a life that will be less adventurous, worthwhile and significant than you supposed when you began it.

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Exit to Democratic Ownership: Draft Presentation

Exit to Democratic Ownership

Exit to Democratic Ownership

Exit to Democratic Ownership; here is a preview of my presentation to the annual meeting of Twitter shareholders, to be held on May 22, 2017, at 1355 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94103. The meeting starts at 10 AM. Bring photo ID. 

I am James McRitchie, speaking in favor of proposal #4, Exit to Democratic Ownership, co-filed with Steffen Sauerteig of Germany on behalf of thousands of users around the world as a part of BuyTwitter.org and #WeAreTwitter. Shareholders or members of the press interested in contacting me after this meeting, can email  [email protected]

We are part of a world-wide movement to save Twitter from losing sight of its mission and being turned into another democratic-free zone.

Twitter’s stated mission is

To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

That mission is very connected to democracy. Twitter is spreading First Amendment rights around the world. Access to information and the exercise of free speech are key to government and an Internet “by and for the people.” Continue Reading →

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Twitter Proxy Voting Guide

Twitter Proxy Voting Guide

Twitter Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net

Twitter Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. Twitter, Inc. operates as a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. The company offers various products and services, including Twitter that allows users to create, distribute, and discover content; and Periscope, a mobile application that enables user to broadcast and watch video live with others. Twitter is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 22, 2017. I will be in attendance, presenting our proposal to study cooperatives, so stop by and say hello.

Of course I voted FOR our proposal entitled Exit to Democratic Ownership, filed in conjunction with BuyTwitter.org. Add to the collective intelligence by tweeting #WeAreTwitter. Follow @BuyThisPlatform. See how and why I voted this and other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 43% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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BuyThisPlatform: Twitter Explores Co-op Capitalism

Twitter has been an important tool to promote democracy – think #ArabSpring#BackLivesMatter, BuyThisPlatform#OccupyWallStreet#WomenOnBoards, etc. Now, through #BuyTwitter @ BuyThisPlatform, Twitter is being called on to explore its own form of corporate governance – how the company itself can be more democratic and inclusive. The results could have implications for the future of capitalism.

Take Action: On May 22 shareholders (owning as of March 30) will decide if Twitter should study and report on the feasibility of “selling the platform to its users via a cooperative or similar structure with broad-based ownership and accountability mechanisms.” Voting by proxy on the proposal has already begun. As one of the authors, I hope you will consider voting “For” our Proposal #4. Continue Reading →

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Chris Mackin on Employee Ownership: Our Video Friday Feature

Christopher Mackin

Christopher Mackin

Laura Flanders interviews Christopher Mackinthe founder of Ownership Associates, an advisory firm for broad-based employee ownership based in Cambridge, MA‎. Mackin is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and a member of the core faculty of the Harvard Trade Union Program based at Harvard Law School. See a previous guest post by Mackin on corporate governance and employee ownership, Hobby Lobby and Rented Humans. I met Mackin about 35 years ago when we were both graduate students. He was at Harvard; I was at Boston College.

In this video, Flanders and Mackin explore employee ownership and, more broadly, democratic workplaces. Mackin points out: Continue Reading →

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Model CSR Reporting

The John Lewis Partnership’s 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, A shared passion, summarizes the business’s progress during 2009/10 at

The report includes an update on the Partnership’s commitments to dealing fairly with suppliers, selling responsibly sourced quality products, making a positive difference to the communities in which it operates and reducing its impact on the environment. The examples of the co-owners’ shared passions, and the loyalty and support of customers, suppliers and business associates, help to demonstrate how the Partnership continues to offer a better and more sustainable way of doing business.

Highlights include:

  • Waitrose and John Lewis exceeding targets to improve shop energy efficiency
  • New Responsible Development Framework to govern and guide building projects
  • Setting out its ambition to achieve an absolute reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, despite looking to double the size of its business during that time
  • Reducing emissions from transport by 6.3%, relative to sales, since 2005/06
  • Charitable and community contributions totaling £7.9 million, equivalent to 2.59% of pre-tax profitGRI
  • Waitrose named UK’s most compassionate supermarket 2009/10
  • John Lewis achieving its target to sell 100% FSC-certified garden furniture.

For the first time this year, the report is aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, at a self-declared Application Level C.

The John Lewis Partnership’s 70,000 permanent staff – known as Partners – own 29 John Lewis shops, 231 Waitrose supermarkets, an online business, a direct services company (Greenbee), a production unit and a farm, with a combined turnover of nearly £7.4 billion last year.

A model system for developing key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to mandatory UK sustainability reporting has been put forward in a new research report which can be downloaded from Ethical Performance who also summarized the above report the the John Lewis Partnership.

The company was one of many I studied under a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health about 30 years ago, when I was looking for the ideal form of corporate governance. In the case of the Partnership, employees were very lucky to have a founder, John Spedan Lewis, who thought beyond his own family (much like Billionaires Giveaway: Who is Worthy?).

Lewis was careful to create a very forward thinking governance system, including a Constitution, that would allow the firm to be competitive and democratic, giving every Partner a voice in the business they co-own. Billionaires of today might leave a greater legacy by adopting democratic principles to govern their own companies rather than by donating their riches to charities that often address the externalized costs of businesses.

See also, csr-reporting, CSR Reporting: What Investors Want, and Sustainability and CSR Reporting: There’s An App For That. A Letter to SAP and the future.

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