Our story
Universal Owner Initiatives mission is to transform investors real-world impact on climate and biodiversity
Beginnings
Universal Owner Initiatives’ founder, Thomas O'Neill, has long seen climate change and environmental degradation as the primary threat to human security in the 21st century. In 2015, he co-founded InfluenceMap to produce the world’s first system to analyse and challenge corporate lobbying on climate policy — the primary obstacle to an effective governmental response. Thomas left InfluenceMap to focus on the theory of universal ownership and what constitutes real world impact.
Why the Universal Owner Initiative name?
​The concept of universal ownership theory was developed in 1995 to describe large institutional investors with highly-diversified and long-term portfolios that effectively hold a large share of the overall market. Exposed to a representative slice of the market, universal owners have an interest not in the returns of this or that individual company, but in the net growth of the market. In turn, this means that it is in their interest to tackle systemic risks to the market, easily the most potent of which is climate change

With the rise of passive investing and increasingly diversified portfolios, most large institutional investors and citizen savers are exposed to a representative slice of the market and 'unhedgeable risks', such as climate change. It is therefore in their enlightened self-financial interest to be thinking and acting as universal owners.
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What does the symbol mean?
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The Triskelion symbol consisting of three interlocked spirals is one of the oldest Celtic symbols. It appears on the Newgrange kerbstones, which date to around 3200 BC.  The Triskeles are thought to evoke the Celtic interpretation of the three realms of material existence: earth, water, and sky (and all their interconnections). We believe the symbol resonates with the perspective of the universal owner that sees the preservation of the natural world, the people, and the system as intrinsically intertwined. It is also a personal tribute to lost Irish heritage.