The Australian Paradox: Conservative Corporate Law in a Progressive Culture
In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming).
Posted: 8 May 2019
Date Written: May 6, 2019
Australia’s relatively conservative corporate law regime does not reflect developments in the soft law and culture in support of corporate sustainability. There is only weak support for sustainability under the Australian legal framework, in particular in the context of directors’ duties. But this orthodox legal regime is being overtaken by a strengthening sustainability culture in Australia, as evidenced by empirical research on director attitudes; relevant listing rules and corporate governance principles; increasing institutional investor interest in sustainability; strengthened non-financial reporting rules, including in the context of labour standards and global supply chains; and other recent developments. The chapter concludes that the past decade has seen a cultural shift led by the ASX Corporate Governance Council, major institutional investor groups, and individual proponents from the legal and business communities towards a strongly increased emphasis on sustainability.
Keywords: directors’ duties, institutional investors, supply chains, listing rules, non-financial reporting
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