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The Grasshoppers and the Ants: Why CSR Needs Patient Capital

This paper explores why and how capital markets undermine CSR, and what is being done—and should be done—to enlarge the pool of “patient capital.” CSR is about intergenerational stewardship of resources. It focuses on enriching the stock of human and natural capital, and creating wealth that is enduring and equitably distributed among those responsible for its creation. Juxtaposing these attributes of CSR with trends in capital markets, the misalignment between the two is serious and intensifying. The solution lies in a concerted effort of all market players—companies, analysts, investors, accounting bodies, and the public at large—to begin moving capital markets from a mentality of trading and transaction to one of care and custodianship.