Corporate ownership and global wellbeing: some implications for sustainability


Ownership of the world’s largest corporations is concentrated in the hands of leading elements of finance capital. This project is examining the implications of this for corporate behaviour, with a particular emphasis on the implications for management of climate change. At a time when the nation-state appears almost paralysed in dealing with the climate crisis, a real question exists as to whether finance capital is capable of responding. This project is utilising a large database of corporations and owners and linking it to data on signatories to major investor groups associated with climate action statements, with a view to subsequent interviews of key players.

The research questions this project is investigating include:

  • What are the changing patterns of ownership of the largest corporations in their national and multinational contexts following the global financial crisis?
  • What are the implications for sustainability, specifically in relation to climate change, but also in relation to other environmental and social matters?

Funded by the APCSE’s ‘Transition and Transformation: Issues Towards a Sustainable Enterprise Economy’ competition, and WOW’s Pump Priming Project Support scheme (2011–2015).

Chief investigators

  • Associate Professor Georgina Murray (Griffith University, Australia)
  • Professor David Peetz (Griffith University, Australia)

Research outputs

  • Peetz, David and Murray, Georgina 2016, “Conflicts with transnational finance capital and the motivations of climate–interested investors”, in Jeb Sprague (ed.) Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania, Oxon, UK: Routledge.
  • Peetz, David and Murray, Georgina 2013, “Financialization of corporate ownership and implications for the potential for climate action”, in Suzanne Young and Stephen Gates (eds) Institutional Investors’ Power to Change Corporate Behavior: International Perspectives, Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability, vol. 5, Bingley, UK: Emerald, pp. 99–125.
  • Peetz, David and Murray, Georgina 2013, “Global wellbeing and climate–interested investors’ motives”, Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing Working Paper Series, Brisbane: Griffith University.
  • Peetz, David and Murray, Georgina 2012, “Corporate ownership and global sustainability”, Asia–Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise Working Paper Series, issue 11, October, Brisbane: Griffith University.

Further reading

  • Murray, Georgina and Peetz, David 2013, “Plutonomy and the one per cent”, in Susan Schroeder and Lynne Chester (eds) Challenging the Orthodoxy: Reflections on Frank Stilwell’s Contribution to Political Economy, Sydney: Springer.
  • Murray, Georgina and Peetz, David 2013, “Restructuring of corporate ownership in Australia through the global financial crisis”, Journal of Australian Political Economy, vol. 71, Winter, pp. 76–105.
  • Peetz, David and Murray, Georgina (forthcoming), “Restructuring of corporate ownership in North America and the global financial crisis”, in Patrice Jalette and Linda Rouleu (eds) Perspectives, Multidimensionnelles sur les Restructurations, Quebec, Canada: Les Presses de l’Université Laval.
  • Peetz, David and Murray Georgina 2012, “The financialisation of global corporate ownership”, in Jenny Scott and Georgina Murray (eds) Financial Elites and Transnational Business: Who Rules the World?, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 26–53.
  • Peetz, David, Murray, Georgina and Nienhüser 2013, “The new structuring of corporate ownership”, Globalizations, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 711–730.

More information

For more details about our research, get in touch