Frequently Asked Questions

What is stewardship?

Stewardship is about ensuring that a business can thrive and sustain growth while enhancing the wealth of its stakeholders and the well-being of the societies in which it operates over the long term.

How can organisations benefit from good stewardship?

In a world where the ownership of firms is increasingly fragmented, and investment structures are more and more complex, the time horizons of investors, executives and owners do not always coincide. Stewardship is an inspiring way of managing competing interests to find the right balance between short and long term considerations. It encourages business leaders to shift mind-sets, to creatively engage their organizations and other societal actors, and to enhance wealth creation for all.

How does stewardship promote sustainable business practices?

A well-stewarded organization is focused on not only delivering current performance without compromising future impacts in terms of earnings but also ensuring the continuity of the capabilities and relationships that form the basis of its ability to create future value. Success can, therefore, be measured as the net positive impact on future generations in terms of economic, social and environmental performance. When needed, these organizations are willing to sacrifice short-term profits to secure longer-term benefits for the organization.

How can stewardship safeguard an organisation's legacy?

One of the hallmarks of well-stewarded companies is that they balance their actions to benefit and sustain not only the present generation but also future ones. This comes from a deeply-held understanding and conviction that casts business leaders as custodians, as stewards. As attached as they are to their organizations, and as much as they desire to guide it onto a path of sustained success, in the grand scheme of things their mandate is only temporary and will one day expire. Therefore, as trusted and responsible stewards, they (owner, board and management) seek to be able to hand over a thriving business and organization in better shape than what they themselves took over when they assumed their roles to the next generation or to their successors.

Who are some steward leaders in Singapore and Asia?

SAC's first book, "Inspiring Stewardship", cites many steward leaders from around the region. These include:
  • Mr Ratan Tata, who revitalized his family's company and built it into India's leading Tata Group that we know for its social and national economic impact today
  • Mr Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who inherited control of the Ayala Group, the Philippines' oldest and most influential industrial conglomerate, and committed the company to helping build and improve communities
  • Mr Makihara Minoru, who took over Japan's huge Mitsubishi Corporation in 1992 and successfully globalised the company over the next decade
  • And of course in the context of national stewardship, our own late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who against the odds transformed Singapore from a third world to a first world economy

How is Stewardship Asia Centre supporting business leaders?

Stewardship Asia Centre is committed to fostering effective stewardship and corporate governance across Asia. The Centre collaborates with credible partners globally and works with state-owned enterprises, corporations, family-based businesses, institutional investors as well as non-profit organisations. Through its forum and knowledge platforms, the Centre promotes and propagates the sharing and mutual learning of concepts and practices that would make a difference to organisations in creating wealth and also contributing to the well-being of the larger community over the long term.

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