[stoo-erd-ship, styoo-]
Stewardship is personal responsibility for taking care of another person's property or financial affairs or in religious orders taking care of finances. Historically, stewardship was the responsibility given to household servants to bring food and drinks to a castle dining hall. The term was then expanded to indicate a household employee's responsibility for managing household or domestic affairs. Stewardship later became the responsibility for taking care of passengers' domestic needs on a ship, train and airplane, or managing the service provided to diners in a restaurant. The term continues to be used in these specific ways, but it is also used in a more general way to refer to a responsibility to take care of something one does not own.

Environmental stewardship

Stewardship is an ethic that embodies cooperative planning and management of environmental resources with organizations, communities and others to actively engage in the prevention of loss of habitat and facilitate its recovery in the interest of long-term sustainability (Fisheries and Oceans Canada - 'Stewardship in Action' program)

Product stewardship is a specific aspect of environmental stewardship that applies to commercial products.


In an organizational context, stewardship refers to management's responsibility to properly utilize and develop its resources, including its people, its property and its financial assets. For more in depth detail, see, in Organizational development, the pages on succession planning, employee development, and performance improvement. In a development sense, stewardship also refers to thanking and recognizing donors. This includes organizing thank you phone calls, recognition events, and conveying the impact that the donor's gift has had.

Land claims

Stewardship in a land claims context is when a monarch or other noble may appoint a steward to oversee parts of his or her realm.


Stewardship also has many meanings in theology. Green Christianity emphasizes stewardship as a Bible-based environmental outlook. Financial stewardship is based on the belief that God is the true owner of each person's possessions, and that one is accountable to God for the acceptable care and use of those possessions. Stewardship can also refer to Jesus Christ's accountability to God the Father for the Christians that have been entrusted to Him.

See also



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