Global organisations that manage trillions of dollars and have established links with corporate – and sometimes political – decision-makers show a lot of immunity of change. Preventable Surprises approach is an Insider Outsider strategy, encouraging real change from the inside while putting pressure where it counts from the outside. Working with positive mavericks, who are employed by large institutions that only partially reflect their aspirations for a sustainable and ethical financial system, is at the core of what we do.
With asset gathering and personal incentives playing a powerful role in shaping the culture of finance, positive mavericks are the change agents who can persuade their institutions to go beyond what is convenient or easy to do, and to act in the best interests of clients, members, and of the sustainable institutional context they require.
We engage our community of positive mavericks in three ways:
Forceful stewardship complements the normal approach to responsible investing – in which traditional investment decision-making is overlaid with a filter for environmental, social and governance issues – by focusing on the rights that investors have as owners. But forceful stewards also go beyond private engagements with investee companies, which lack transparency and are hampered by conflicts of interest. We are deeply pro market. But as experienced insiders, we know there are many reasons why the financial industry ignores systemic risks, such as climate change, until it’s too late.
“Forceful stewards” engage with companies, and use their full influence to make business part of the solution to address systemic risks. They vote for resolutions to send a public signal and thus to drive deeper and faster corporate change. Forceful stewards also engage with all the other players involved in investment – from research analysts to investment consultants to regulators and policy institutions – to ensure they, too, play their part in addressing systemic risks.
In summary, a forceful steward does three things:
We use online dialogues as a means to connect and broker honest conversations between people – investors, NGOs, academics, scientists – from multiple continents. We use the Currnt online engagement platform, which allows us to set up multiple topic sessions that our participants can join at their convenience, contributing to multiples streams of discussion. We have held six dialogues on climate issues in 2015-18, and one each on biodiversity and corporate political capture in 2021.