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).

University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019-17

Posted: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Victoria Schnure Baumfield

Victoria Schnure Baumfield

Bond University - School of Law; University of Queensland, T.C. Beirne School of Law

Date Written: May 6, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Baumfield, Victoria Schnure, The Australian Paradox: Conservative Corporate Law in a Progressive Culture (May 6, 2019). In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming).; University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383432

Victoria Schnure Baumfield (Contact Author)

Bond University - School of Law ( email )

Gold Coast, QLD 4229
Australia

University of Queensland, T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

St Lucia
Australia

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