All of us, no matter where we are, can help change the world
What is Altruistic Capital?
Altruistic Capital is a donation of shares made by a company to benefit a humanitarian cause.
The goal of Altruistic Capital is to help promote causes for the common good by providing them with significant financial means through access to the capital of private companies: these are “altruistic enterprises”.
In September 2009, Speechi became the first company to adopt the principle of Altruistic Capital.
10% of Speechi’s capital has been donated to an NGO working to protect the world’s remaining mountain gorillas
We’re putting socially responsible business within reach of everyone
Today, people consider that socially responsible business concerns companies whose work is by nature altruistic. So they limit it to types of business that are both socially useful and economically profitable: these two principles aren’t always very easy to reconcile. Altruistic Capital breaks through that knot: social change comes through the development of the company and the resulting increase in the value of its capital, regardless of the type of business and its activities.
Altruistic Capital makes socially responsible entrepreneurship a universal concept, allowing any company that so chooses to have a real, quantifiable social impact, regardless of its field of activity.
The cause to receive the gift of this capital donation is chosen freely by the company. The company also chooses the percentage of shares donated.
Capital is a much more transparent and effective type of donation than the forms of philanthropy generally chosen by companies. The altruistic shareholder which receives the donation then benefits from the entire impact of the economic leverage brought by that capital (dividends, surpluses, etc.) throughout the life of the company.
The important point is that humanitarian associations and NGOs, have access to capital resources that allow them to keep working over the long term with economic means comparable to those of private-sector entities, since so often these days the common good is trumped whenever economic interests come into play.
First we had to invent the statutes that would allow a company to gift an NGO with capital. We did this work at the end of 2008 and early in 2009, and the altruistic statutes were adopted by Speechi last September.
These statutes introduce the notion of an altruistic index, equal to the percentage of altruistic shares issued and donated to an NGO.
The altruistic index measures transparently and incontestably the permanent humanitarian engagement of a business, meaning the share of its corporate capital attributed to humanitarian organizations. In the case of Speechi, this index is at 10%.
The altruistic statutes will be made available as “Open Source” documents. Any interested entrepreneur can use them for his or her business and/or improve them as long as such improvements benefit society.
Why the IGCP and why gorillas?
On September 1st, 2009, Speechi became the first company to adopt “Altruistic Capital”: 10% of Speechi’s capital is reserved for the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, an NGO directed by Goldman prize recipient Eugène Rutagarama, who does extraordinary work for the conservation of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. The IGCP has become a Speechi shareholder. It will receive 10% of our profits for life. If Speechi is sold someday, the IGCP will receive 10% of the company’s value.
Like the great white whale, like the old man and the sea, or elephants at the dawn of time, the plight of the gorilla is an obvious metaphor for the fate of humanity itself. Following the Rwandan genocide in which his family was massacred, Eugène Rutagarama set out on a different type of preservation mission.
They have a personal and sentimental value on this earth. They speak to me. I would like for my children to see them one day or just to know that they exist outside the cages of some zoo. Part of my choice is really just from my heart and I would have a hard time “rationally” justifying this if someone were to accuse me of pure sentimentality. But materialistic concerns, which were the product of the last century’s humanistic drive, have led to the deaths of millions. So we see that so-called economic “logic” at work today, putting the whole world in grave danger. It seems to me to be important also to give feelings a chance instead.Thierry Klein, President of Speechi