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Kenan Institute 2022 Grand Challenge: Stakeholder Capitalism
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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Our 2023 Frontiers of Business Conference will convene top researchers, corporate executives and policy leaders working around the globe to navigate the balance of corporate value and values. Join us as our experts share objective, evidence-based solutions for implementing stakeholder capitalism and ESG frameworks more broadly.

Can investing in polluting industries be a tool for fostering sustainability? Yes, according to research by Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow Jacquelyn Pless, and it may be more effective than divesting.

06
Oct
2022
Stakeholder Capitalism

Pastor, a Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow, will discuss how green stocks — despite outperforming brown in recent years because of an unexpectedly strong increase in environmental concerns — have lower expected future returns than brown.

There are few topics in business more current, more covered or more controversial than corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibilities. Proponents claim a business’s adoption of such principles yields outcomes that benefit all parties, driving win-win scenarios for internal and external stakeholders alike. But critics dismiss ESG implementation as a performative PR ploy, and argue that considering such non-pecuniary factors in corporate decision-making is unsustainable. Our (independent, nonpartisan) findings indicate both sides of the debate are missing the mark – and in hopes of advancing more productive conversations, we introduce below a research-based model for examining the trade-offs of ESG adoption for businesses large and small.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and his family will transfer ownership of the company – valued at roughly $3 billion – to two newly created environmental trusts. In this Kenan Commentary, we ask four questions to determine how Chouinard’s move fits into the framework of the institute’s annual theme, stakeholder capitalism, and whether a better comparison is the laudable but more common idea of an altruistic business owner.

This year’s in-person convening will discuss unique challenges and opportunities related to ESG issues in alternative investments.

A new personal gift from Bruce Van Saun, Citizens Financial Group Inc. chairman and CEO, and his wife, Kathleen (Katie) Van Saun, will support the Kenan Institute’s annual grand challenge. Starting in 2023, the three-year gift will support the institute’s Distinguished Fellows, who advance thought leadership around the grand challenge’s theme, a key issue that affects business and society. The program is making its debut this year with an exploration of stakeholder capitalism and ESG investing. The Van Sauns earned their MBAs from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in 1983 and were married in 1985.

Stakeholder Capitalism

Some analysis indicates companies with diverse executive teams drive more revenue and are more likely to experience higher profits relative to their nondiverse peers, yet founding teams for both high-growth startups and the private capital groups that fund them stand in stark contrast to the U.S. working age population. Why? And why should it matter? In this week’s Kenan Insight, Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow Emmanuel Yimfor unpacks statistics on the composition of both high-growth startups and private capital groups, explores the economic and societal implications of their lack of diversity and provides suggestions to facilitate change.

Stakeholder Capitalism

Participants at this year's Alternative Investments Conference give their thoughts on the recent public focus on ESG.

Stakeholder Capitalism

Participants at this year's Alternative Investments Conference discuss how ESG metrics have evolved over the past decade.

Stakeholder Capitalism

The argument that ESG investing generates more stable and higher long-term returns has come under scrutiny, including recent data showing long-run underperformance of ESG funds over the past five years. In this Kenan Insight, we provide some clarification based on recent research that revisits fundamental questions: why and how some investors take ESG factors into account in the first place.

A panel from this year's Alternative Investments Conference discusses how venture capital is playing catch-up on ESG investing, "knowing what levers you can pull," and the opportunity for huge growth in this week's Kenan Insight.