Our system of wealth creation is at a crossroads. It has contributed to economic and social progress. Yet it has also fuelled many problems from climate impacts, and air pollution, to digital manipulation and the invasion of privacy. In many parts of the world, there are demands for government action to restrain greed, irresponsibility and short-termism.
But what about positive solutions? How do we define the contributions that we all want business and investment to make? That is the challenge to which Ong Boon Hwee and Mark Goyder respond. They argue that if our societies are to be set on a forward-looking virtuous cycle and a less damaging course, we will need every ounce of human ingenuity — the inventiveness of entrepreneurs, the dynamism of companies and the adaptability of markets. We need a sense of ownership and purpose, anchored on strong values. We need to be better at valuing the future and rewarding those whose work will benefit future generations. We need a better form of capitalism, one which, while promoting competition, is there to serve and not dominate; to respect human beings and not exploit them; to nurture our surrounding environment, and not destroy it.
This will only be achieved by injecting the spirit and principles of stewardship into the decisions of investors, business leaders, regulators and citizens. The authors draw on their combined experience, gelling the perspectives of East and West, to offer a vision and agenda for responsible wealth creation.
Stewardship means that we manage, nurture and grow what has been entrusted to us so that we hand it over in a better condition to the next generation. This book offers ideas and guidance for people in all levels of business — asset owners, asset managers, investors, shareholders, board directors, management, policymakers and regulators. It is a handbook for all those willing to play their part in responsible wealth creation, now and for future generations. It says to each participant — consider what you have been entrusted with, and then decide what you are doing about your stewardship responsibilities.