In good news for SET businesses trying to raise funds, a recent experiment rejected the “selfish investor hypothesis.” The study showed that investors are willing to pay a premium for shares in firms that create positive externalities and pay less for shares that create negative externalities. This is true even for people who are making investment decisions on behalf of others.
Bonnefon, Jean-Francois and Landier, Augustin and Sastry, Parinitha and Thesmar, David, Do Investors Care About Corporate Externalities? Experimental Evidence (September 23, 2019). HEC Paris Research Paper No. FIN-2019-1350. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3458447 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3458447
A study by Euromonitor International suggests that consumers are increasingly seeking out goods and services consistent with SET organizations: 68% of consumers say that having a positive impact on the environment is a priority for them, and 39% prefer to purchase fewer but higher quality products. The report, 2019 Megatrends: State of Play, can be downloaded here.
People interested in SET management will welcome a new book called The 99 Percent Economy. The book is written by Paul Adler, a highly-esteemed business scholar at the University of Southern California. Adler. writes:
"Capitalism is a system of production for profit, not for people or the planet. Yes, over the past decades and centuries capitalism has stimulated remarkable scientific and technological advances and has led to real improvements in the material conditions of many. But these improvements are only intermittent. They are shared unequally. And they come with escalating social and environmental costs. Government is dependant on the profitability of the business sector for its legitimacy and resources and therefore cannot adequately address those costs. That’s why we face a world in crisis.
"If we are to overcome these crises and create an economy for the 99 percent, we need to change the way enterprises make decisions about investment, products, and work. These decisions need to be guided by the needs of people and planet—not just by profitability considerations. They need to be made democratically, informed by deliberations and debate not only at the enterprise level, but also at the regional, industrial, and national levels—not made by CEOs and board of directors doing the bidding of private investors.” (page 3)
Adler, Paul (2019). The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press.