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More and more entrepreneurs are thinking beyond their own personal wealth. In what is known as the "Purpose Movement," company bosses aim to put profits to good use, while rethinking the idea of corporate ownership.
This film explores how the movement is rethinking capitalism. The founders and CEOs involved in the global Purpose Movement believe in transforming society: Their ownership model ensures that a company’s shareholders cannot withdraw profits, the company cannot be sold and its purpose cannot be changed. Christian Kroll founded search engine Ecosia in 2009. The profits are used to plant trees to combat climate change. Advertising revenue has so far financed the planting of more than a hundred million trees. Kroll could have sold Ecosia for many millions of euros long ago, but the founder wanted to protect his company from speculators. The trees were more important to him than his bank balance. That's why he used a foundation model to transfer ownership of Ecosia in 2018, effectively cutting himself out. The model makes it impossible to sell Ecosia for profit, to withdraw company capital, or to change the company's purpose, which is planting trees. Armin Steuernagel advises entrepreneurs who also want to "give away" their companies. His Purpose Foundation advises start-ups wanting to establish themselves as "purpose companies,” like Hamburg’s Wildplastic, which produces garbage bags from recycled material. Steuernagel wants us to rethink capitalism. As a political lobbyist, he is working to create a legal framework to help facilitate the shift to "purpose companies." Michael Hetzer ran the German family-owned company Elobau, which manufactures sensors and other parts for agricultural machinery. Instead of deciding to leave the business to one of his sons, he transferred the company to a foundation model. He wanted to take the burden off his sons' shoulders. And for him, the purpose of his company is important.