Reforming directors' duties in the EU to promote long-termism and sustainability

6. 9. 2018
The event will be hosted by Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament and founder of the Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct. Participants will discuss the commitments included in Action 10 of the European Commission’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance focused on promoting sustainable corporate governance. The event will also link this debate to the recent developments in France concerning the need to clarify directors' duties and proposals to include in law the concepts of "raison d'être" and mission-led companies.
  • When: September 26, 2018. 10h - 13h
  • Where: Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, Brussels
  • Organisers: Frank Bold, Cass Business School and Mines ParisTech
  • Registration: The event is free of charge but places are limited: https://goo.gl/forms/FqFvt7C6k5Y6R2XS2

The event directly responds to the European Commission’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance and its Action 10, which includes the following commitment “To promote corporate governance that is more conducive to sustainable investments, by Q2 2019, the Commission will carry out analytical and consultative work with relevant stakeholders to assess: (i) the possible need to require corporate boards to develop and disclose a sustainability strategy, including appropriate due diligence throughout the supply chain, and measurable sustainability targets; and (ii) the possible need to clarify the rules according to which directors are expected to act in the company’s long-term interest.”

The event will link the European Commission’s plan with a simultaneous high-level discussion taking place in France. As part of the “French government Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Enterprises”, four Ministers of the government commissioned a report entitled “L’entreprise, objet d’intérêt collectif”. This report presents recommendations to clarify directors duties to manage the company in its own interest, while considering its social object and the societal and environmental stakes of its activity. Furthermore, it proposes to introduce in law two new concepts: the raison d’être of the corporation and mission-led corporations.

Speakers include:

  • Nicole Notat, Founder and President at Vigeo Eiris and co-author of the report “L’entreprise, objet d’intérêt collectif” for the French government (Keynote)
  • Heidi Hautala MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA
  • Maija Laurila, Head of Company Law Unit, European Commission
  • Laurence Méhaignerie, CEO of Citizen Capital
  • Blanche Segrestin and Armand Hatchuel, Professors at Mines ParisTech
  • Jean-Pascal Gond, Professor at Cass Business School
  • Per Lekvall, Member of the ecoDa Policy Committee and the Swedish Corporate Governance Board
  • Jo Iwasaki, Head of Corporate Governance at ACCA

The event will consider how directors’ duties could be clarified at an EU level to a) reach the aim of the European Commission to foster the transition to a sustainable economy for the benefit of the planet and the society; b) improve the environment for investor engagement in sustainability matters; and c) provide protection to directors against pressure from the capital markets to focus on the short-term.

The event will also explore how a clarification of directors’ duties and the purpose of the corporation interacts with emerging legislation on corporate responsibility to prevent and mitigate human rights and environmental violations in supply chains, such as the duty of vigilance in France and the Responsible Business Initiative in Switzerland.

Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in French and English.

There is where is cleanest business:

The Purpose of the Corporation Project

Frank Bold