WeWork, a successful company that provides shared workspaces, has grown rapidly since its founding in 2010 and was valued at $45 billion in 2018. WeWork was considered a progressive company with a strong focus on sustainability, evidenced by its public commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2023.
As part of its rapid growth, WeWork received very large investments from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Much of the Vision Fund was funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which obtained its wealth from the sale of Saudi oil. This case presents the idea that WeWork’s values may be in direct conflict with the values and actions of Saudi Arabia, yet WeWork continued to receive considerable funding from the kingdom. The case raises the question about a corporation’s role in society and whether it has any responsibility to ensure its investors’ values align with its own.