Stakeholder capitalism: the evolution of the concept of value

A Word from Alberto De Paoli

What is stakeholder capitalism and where has it come from? It’s a further evolution of the concept of capitalism that adds a new dimension to the current model, and it aims to involve all stakeholders in a company's activities by viewing sustainability from the perspective of creating shared value.

It’s important to consider the evolution of the “value” concept, starting with the classic model of shareholder capitalism, where a company’s social responsibility lies solely in maximizing profits, to the concept of shared value creation, along with which we’ve seen the establishment of a new business model for companies. This isn’t philanthropy: it’s a social responsibility concept that has its roots in the post-war years and which went on to evolve over the following decades, with the discovery of just how fundamental it is for companies to consider other stakeholders in their strategy, and that sustainability and profit objectives can be pursued together. But it was in the 2000s, with heightened attention around climate change issues and the establishment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that stakeholder capitalism started to become more predominant, to the extent that it’s now destined to influence the actions of companies like ours, which have made sustainability their guiding principle, without abandoning the pursuit of growth.