Ethical governance models

Top three benefits:

  • Get more out of diverse teams and benefit from the qualities of women in leadership positions. 
  • Become a more attractive employer, which helps to attract and retain motivated staff at a lower cost.
  • Tap into the knowledge of field staff for swifter identification of problems and development of solutions that really work. 

Top three challenges:

  • Not all countries acknowledge legal forms such as social enterprises, and business certifications such as B corp might require prohibitive administrative and legal efforts.
  • Having more opinions might lead to more discussions and slower decision-making, if not well facilitated. 
  • While investors increasingly appreciate diverse and equitable organisations, fundraising might be more challenging if a company uses non-traditional governance models.

Photo credit: BBC StoryWorks


  • Instead of granting company shares to senior executives only, Wasoko gives all their full-time employees stock options through an Employees Share Option Plan (ESOP) which is a model that gains popularity among African tech startups.
  • SolarAid (GDC member) has explored ways to scale sales of solar energy products by setting up microfinance cooperatives led by sales agents (read more in the How-to-guide they developed with the GDC). 
  • GDC member OX Delivers is in the process of becoming B Corp certified, which holds them accountable to a range of impact standards moving forward. Read our spotlight on OX here.
  • Let us know who else should be on this list


  • The GDC and Value for Women present various business strategies for how to improve gender equality, drawing upon lessons from last mile distributors. 
  • Efficiency for Access did a thoughtful assessment of how inclusive the lighting and appliances sector currently is. 
  • We Are Stewards is a Netherlands based organisation that offers a unique governance blueprint to companies and investors that want to safeguard their purpose.
  • Check out this overview of B Corps in Africa and guidelines for how to apply. 
  • Explore an intro to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) on Investopedia.