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).
Posted: 8 May 2019
Date Written: May 6, 2019
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
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