Frank Bold’s corporate governance work with academic project wins 2019 International Impactful Collaboration Award

8. 7. 2019
The collaboration between the Purpose of the Corporation Project led by Frank Bold, a public interest law firm, and the Modern Corporation Project run by Jeroen Veldman and Hugh Willmott from Cass Business School, City University, has won the 2019 International Impactful Collaboration Award.

The award given by the Practice Theme Committee (PTC) and the International Theme Committee (ITC) of the Academy of Management recognises international collaborations between academics and external stakeholders that have achieved demonstrable, external impact.

The partnership identified a growing sense of urgency on the link between corporate governance theory, practice and institutions and the materialization of significant corporate, social and systemic risks. By bringing together leading representatives from academia, civil society, regulators and practitioner communities, the awarded organisations built a platform that generates opportunities to develop relevant proposals for the reform of corporate governance and thus to engage with these risks.

As Jeroen Veldman explains, “we started producing succinct statements signed by leading academics that describe the situation, implications and challenges associated with corporate governance in multiple disciplinary fields including company law, economic, accounting, political theory and management.

These statements formed the basis for a project in which the partnership engaged with practitioners,representatives of civil society organisations and regulatory bodies worldwide to identify relevant best practices and proposals for reform.

Filip Gregor from Frank Bold highlights that “these activities developed into an open platform that combined international interdisciplinary academic research, practitioner engagement and regulatory reform proposals”.

With this platform, the partnership has provided concrete impacts, notably by informing the EU sustainable finance and responsible corporate governance agendas. Just last year, the European Commission published an ambitious Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth, which includes a chapter on corporate governance of public companies. The assumptions underlying the analysis and measures of the Action Plan are highly aligned with the findings presented by the partnership in the “Corporate Governance for a Changing World” report.   

The award is a confirmation of the impact of collaborative and interdisciplinary research and of the relevance of the work developed by the partnership and all the academics, practitioners and policy makers involved in this platform. Winning the award will help support the continuation of this collective research. 

Partnership’s impact: chronology of events 

2014: The partnership publishes five statements in management, company law, economics, politics and accounting produced by leading international academics. They are signed by over 250 leading international academics and will be published in SSRN later on. 

2014 - 2016: A global series of roundtables is organised with the objective of bringing together academics and professionals to discuss the challenges of corporate governance and provide recommendations to advance the theory, practice, and policy of the field. The partnership launches this initiative at a conference in September 2014 at the EU Parliament (videos of the different sessions are accessible here). 

Executive summaries of all subsequent roundtable events that gather more than 260 leaders in business management, investment, regulation, academic and civil society communities are available here: London, New York, Zurich, Breukelen (The Netherlands), Paris, Oslo.

2015-2016: The partnership also organises targeted discussions that focus on specific corporate governance areas or stakeholder groups. 

  • July 2015 “The future of big business: civil society roundtable” hosted in London. An executive summary of the meeting is available here and a video summary of the day is accessible here
  • October 2015; December 2015; January 2016 and April 2016 “Is Corporate Governance past its sell-by date?” workshop series in London. 
  • March 2016 “Driving Sustainable Profitability, Next Steps for Responsible Investment and Reporting in Europe” workshop organised in Brussels. An executive summary is available here

Similarly, the partnership publishes “A short guide to sustainable corporate governance” in order to raise awareness among civil society organisations of the relevance of corporate governance in creating a sustainable and responsible economy. 

2016: The conclusions of the global roundtables series are published in the “Corporate Governance for a Changing World” report, which presents a comprehensive set of recommendations based on discussions held among all stakeholders engaged in the roundtable discussions in the following areas:

  • Embedding purpose in the governance structure of the corporation
  • Clarifying fiduciary duties to restore the focus to long-term value creation
  • Strengthening the role of the board to pursue a broad and long-term view of corporate purpose
  • Revising incentive structures for directors and executives
  • Engaging stakeholders in corporate governance
  • Improving shareholder engagement to foster patient capital
  • Integrating intangibles, non-financial capitals and ESG matters into corporate accounting and reporting models

The report is presented at a high-level event in Brussels which counted with opening speeches by EU Commissioner Věra Jourová and leading economist John Kay. 

2017 - 2018: Following up the conclusions of the “Corporate Governance for a Changing World” report, the partnership continues to explore and promote changes needed to create a sustainable and responsible corporate governance framework, especially as part of promising policy developments. 

2018 - ongoing: The Alliance for Corporate Transparency project is set up under the leadership of Frank Bold and with the support of the Modern Corporation project from Cass Business School. The three-year research project aims at providing evidence and build a multi-stakeholder consensus for targeted changes necessary for an effective legal framework for sustainability reporting. Initial results are presented in February 2019 (see report here; speakers’ list here; video recordings here) and are considered in the EU Commission assessment of the implementation of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (see slide presented by Alain Deckers, Head of Corporate Reporting Unit at the EU Commission in a conference held in June 2019 on Sustainable Finance. You can also hear his speech at the Alliance event here).

Note to the editors:

The award is given by the Practice Theme Committee (PTC) and the International Theme Committee (ITC) of the Academy of Management. The international panel of judges named the award application submitted by the partnership as outstanding on all characteristics, with a special commendation for project scale. 

The Modern Corporation Project is run by Professor Hugh Willmott, Professor of Management and Dr Jeroen Veldman, Senior Research Fellow at Cass Business School, City University, London.

Cass Business School, which is part of City, University of London, is a leading global business school driven by world-class knowledge, innovative education and a vibrant community. The faculty at Cass are experts in their fields, producing cutting-edge research with real-world impact.

Frank Bold is a public interest law firm with offices in the Czech Republic, Belgium and Poland. The organisation uses the power of business and non-profit approaches to solve social and environmental problems. With six branches in three EU countries, Frank Bold provides legal expertise in corporate accountability to the European institutions as well as to NGO's in many countries

The Purpose of the Corporation Project, an initiative of Frank Bold that provides a strategic and open-source platform for leading thinkers and organisations interested in promoting the long-term health and sustainability of companies.

There is where is cleanest business:

The Purpose of the Corporation Project

Frank Bold