How We’re Different
A New Kind of Company—New Rules for Corporate Decision-Making
In most publicly traded corporations, there is a fundamental problem—the majority of the shareholders are absentee owners who have purchased their shares in the secondary market. They are passive investors who expect the company to place their interests above all else. “All else” includes the employees who work to create profits, the communities that support the businesses, and the ecosystems that sustain them. Regrettably, companies have often served their shareholders’ short-term financial interests at the expense of the environment, their employees and their communities. Restorative change will be accomplished when this trend is reversed and more companies begin to serve the common good while also achieving long-term financial success. Accordingly, Upstream 21’s founders have designed a framework for a new kind of corporation.
Upstream 21 is governed by a core principle that defines the company’s “best interests” more broadly than most corporations. Our Articles of Incorporation provide that the “best interests” of the company must include consideration of the effects of the Company’s actions on all of the following: employees; the environment; long-term as well as short-term interests of the Company and its shareholders; customers and suppliers; and the communities in which the Company and its subsidiaries operate. This fundamental principle—requiring consideration of multiple constituencies and factors—guides the Company’s Board of Directors, its officers and all of its employees, as well as those of its subsidiaries.
Our business model does not assume that “bigger is better.” Instead, we know that the Company can and will perform certain functions more effectively and less expensively than these small companies could on their own. Upstream 21’s role is to strengthen our subsidiaries by implementing best management practices in all facets of their businesses, including allocation of capital, financial management, accounting, strategic planning, human resources, environmental management, and marketing.
Our business model also does not assume a “buy-and-flip” strategy in which Upstream 21 would buy businesses and resell them afterward for quick returns. Instead, the Company intends to treat these acquisitions as long-term collaborations to which it can add value over time in order to better serve the interests of employees, customers and suppliers, the community, the environment, and the shareholders of the Company.