Case Studies

Steward ownership is an established and successful model, adopted and operated by many organisations around the world

Carl Zeiss

Carl Zeiss Foundation

Promoting research and innovation the Carl Zeiss Foundation is the sole stockholder of Carl Zeiss AG and Schott AG. This single-foundation model has ensured both organizations’ long-term success, their independence, and their commitment to social responsibility.


Steward-ownership: a nonprofit alternative

Ecosia’s transition to steward-ownership ensures its mission of using profits to fight deforestation remains protected indefinitely.


Trust-foundation ownership of an industrial pioneer

Entrepreneur, industrialist, and philanthropist Robert Bosch started planning for the long-term ownership of his company decades before his death in 1942. Since 1964, the Bosch Group has been held under a trust-foundation structure that has maintained the innovative strength and social commitment of its creator.


Mission-aligned ownership and financing

Sharetribe’s model ensures that its mission of democratizing the sharing economy is protected over the long-term, and enables the company to bring in the capital necessary to grow and expand its team. Sharetribe founders Juho Makkonen and Antti Virolainen started building sharing platforms in 2008. Since then they’ve grown Sharetribe into a thriving business and developed technology that enables more than 700 customers across 50 countries tobuild their own online marketplaces.

John Lewis Partnership

Trust-partnership for employee ownership

The John Lewis Partnership’s trust-partnership is a model of democratic steward-ownership that includes 90,000 employees in its corporate governance structure. Through a sophisticated set of checks and balances, the trust-partnership ensures that the trust’s purpose and independence are secure for the long-term.


Protecting its ownership while cleaning up the planet

Wildplastic was founded in 2019 with the goal to clean the environment from plastic waste. In cooperation with communities of collectors, the start-up works globally to collect wild plastic from beaches, landfills, and illegal dumpsites. In spring 2019, Wildplastic started selling the first trash bag that is 100% made of recycled plastic.


Reducing Fashion Waste without maximizing forced profits

Ziel makes on-demand, quality activewear apparel in the United States. With a strong focus on sustainability, Ziel’s model reduces waste and enables a flexible supply of high-quality apparel.

Organically Grown Company

40 years protecting its mission and independence

Founded in 1978, Organically Grown Company (OGC) has been a pioneer in sustainable, organic agriculture for over 40 years. From its roots as a farmer-run non- profit, OGC has grown into one of the largest independent organic produce distributors in the United States. In 2017 the company transitioned to steward-ownership to protect its mission and remain independent into the future.