What is Stewardship and Why is it Taking Over Big Business? - Hope 103.2

What is Stewardship and Why is it Taking Over Big Business?

Hobby Lobby boss David Green and Patagonia CEO Yvon Chouinard might start a revolution of what we do with what we have been given.

By Ben McEachenWednesday 25 Jan 2023Money: Faith & FinancePodcastsReading Time: 2 minutes

The revolution has started. Rather than corporations being about lining pockets, several CEOs have signed over to stewardship.

Did you hear about Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of outdoor equipment company Patagonia?

Rather than sell off his billion-dollar company, Chouinard decided to “go purpose” and turn Patagonia into a trust which will inject its profit into environmental protection.

“Earth is now the only shareholder,” Chouinard declared in an open letter.

Such a notable shift to a not-for-profit approach grabbed the attention of accountant Pete Burrows and Hope Morning’s Ben McEachen.

Co-hosts of Money: Faith and Finance, Pete and Ben noticed a similar decision made by David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby.

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What’s stewardship got to do with it?

In this episode of Money, Ben and Pete suggest that Green and Chouinard are operating from similar positions of generosity and lack of greed.

However, Green’s decision to hand Hobby Lobby over to a trust is driven by an ancient approach to what all of us have.

“I think David Green’s been working on this for some time and had been working on it before [we have heard] about what has happened at Patagonia,” Ben said.

“He was similarly inspired to ‘go purpose’ but he has described his purpose as being about choosing God with his company.

“He’s used the language of ‘stewardship‘ when it comes to what seems to be a newfound business approach at Hobby Lobby.”

Green is a Christian and Hobby Lobby will “honour God, reward employees with meaningful work and compensation, and be a great contributor to hope and healing around the world”.

What stewardship has got to do with all of this is Green’s Christian faith helps him realise everything we have is a gift from God.

Provided by God, what we have – from finances to our every breath – should be approached as just that: given, for us to care for and use wisely.

From the first few pages of the Bible, God entrusts Earth and its elements to people” to be good stewards of; to rule over but to use well and know it has been given to them,” Ben said.

“The Bible has a much richer, broader, more holistic definition of stewardship… than even where the Patagonia owner is going with handing over his company, effectively, to the planet.”

Quite the revolutionary approach to big business, when “stewardship” becomes the driving force behind how you work and what you do with what’s given to you.

Listen to the full The Stewardship ‘Revolution’ in Big Business episode in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.