Conflicts and Coalitions: The Drivers of European Corporate Sustainability Reforms
In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Chapter 43.
Posted: 8 May 2019 Last revised: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 6, 2019
Traditionally, corporate governance debates have contrasted models based on the principle of shareholder primacy with others taking into account the interests of other stakeholders, such as organised labour. This chapter argues that a new corporate governance compromise is emerging, particularly in Europe, driven by responsible investors, civil society and organised labour, which might offer a new way of overcoming the shareholder versus stakeholder dispute. This emerging NGOs-Investor-Union nexus is illustrated using various examples of recent regulatory initiatives: the EU Non-financial Reporting Directive; the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement regarding human rights; the UK Modern Slavery Act and the French Law on the ‘duty of vigilance’. The chapter draws on the abovementioned cases to elaborate some conjectures on the implications and limitations of this dynamic and fragile convergence of interests for policy-makers and existing debates on sustainable corporate governance reforms.
Keywords: EU regulation, non-financial reporting, modern slavery, Corporate Social Responsibility
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