Moving Beyond Virtue Signalling: Corporate Sustainability for New Zealand

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. 2019-18

Posted: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Susan Watson

Susan Watson

University of Auckland Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 6, 2019

Abstract

New Zealand’s image as clean and green and a fair society is core to its identity. Yet despite the rhetoric, sustainability considerations are not yet central to its corporate governance. Shareholder primacy thinking by some regulators, commentators and boards has hampered attempts to encourage companies to prioritise sustainability despite the Law Commission vision that the New Zealand company operate as an enterprise. This chapter focuses on regulatory approaches to corporate governance and sustainability in New Zealand, first through the various codes and then with a discussion of the means and ends of its corporate governance. It is argued that the means are through the board and the ends are to act in the best interests of the company, conceived of as an enterprise, concluding that there is potential for genuine sustainability when the best interests of the company are considered from the perspective of the entity itself.

Keywords: company as entity, enterprise, shareholder primacy

Suggested Citation

Watson, Susan Mary, Moving Beyond Virtue Signalling: Corporate Sustainability for New Zealand (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. 2019-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383434

Susan Mary Watson (Contact Author)

University of Auckland Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

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