Steward Ownership

Steward Ownership is an alternative legal structure, made famous in part through the restructuring of Patagonia.

With a steward ownership structure, your business can simply be profitable, but the purpose and mission of the business is put at the forefront and legally protected. Steward ownership anchors your sustainable business model. Profit serves the purpose, in other words.

Steward what?

The principles central to steward ownership are:

  1. Voting and profit rights are separate. Voting rights lie with the people involved in the company (the stewards), and profit rights are to be agreed.
  2. About the profit, agreements are made, but must at least serve the mission, and for investors and founders the profit is capped.
  3. The structure is legally secured, for example by an independent foundation that holds a golden share. This prevents that when stewards, for example, change, the mission may also change.

Well-known companies that have applied steward ownership include Patagonia, Moonback, BuurtzorgT, Odin and Triodos Bank.


Legally, there are several forms and possibilities. BVDV is happy to help you make the right choices when (re)structuring your company. We work together with:

  • We Are Stewards. We Are Stewards is the driving force behind steward ownership in the Netherlands. They help entrepreneurs and investors maximise their impact with steward ownership.
  • Stewards NL. BVDV’s specialists are members of Stewards NL, the community for steward ownership in the Netherlands. This community brings together entrepreneurs, investors and (legal) advisors to exchange experiences and knowledge.

More information

For more information on steward ownership, please contact Sophie Kuijpers (, Lisanne van der Velden ( or Sjoerd van der Velden (

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