Purpose of a corporation?

Is maximising shareholder value the proper purpose of corporate activity in the 21st century, or is it the dumbest idea in the world? Learn more.

The maximizing shareholder value theory that has come to dominate our thinking and policy-making in the last several decades has been linked, as a causative factor, to the recent financial crises. It has been blamed for some of the worst excesses in corporate behaviour, and academics now broadly question the basic tenets upon which it was built.

We launched the Purpose of the Corporation Project with the aim of creating a safe and apolitical platform for developing a coherent vision for a new paradigm of corporate governance which will be more beneficial for society.

To encourage debate, we drew upon academic works from a wide range of disciplines (law, economics, accounting, political studies, and management) to present a Green Paper to policy makers, business people, and civil society.

In cooperation with the Cardiff Business School, we organized an international conference on the Purpose of the Corporation.

Stay in touch on LinkedIn with our group, The Purpose of the Corporation.

Corporate Accountability

We aim to bridge existing global governance gaps and strengthen the enforcement of laws and people's ability to assert their rights. Learn more.

Working closely with the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, we promote reforms of rules governing access to judicial remedy by overseas victims of human rights abuses and the concept of Human Rights Due Diligence as a legislative solution to governance and accountability gaps in the operations of multinational enterprises.

Together with the U.S.-based International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, we have organized a global research project providing an authoritative answer to the question of whether Human Rights Due Diligence is a regulatory option.

In 2013, we helped to shepherd a legislative proposal on social and environmental reporting by large corporations built on this concept through the European Parliament; a final deal is currently being negotiated with the Council.

Learn more about the topics we focus on: Human Rights Due Diligence, Mandating Environmental and Social Reporting, Protecting Victims' Access to Justice.

Reconstruction of the State

We reform the politics in the Czech Republic by pushing through nine important laws significantly reducing corruption. Learn more.

Pushing for the adoption of key anti-corruption laws, we strive to contribute to more open and transparent politics in the Czech Republic, prevent the abuse of power, and reduce opportunities for public fraud.

We promote and advocate for laws that will prevent illicit financing of political parties, misuse of public funds, and political interference in police investigations. To achieve this, we initiated and coordinate a joint national advocacy project Reconstruction of the State, which aims at passing nine specific anti-corruption laws. In this campaign, leading anti-corruption organizations in the country were brought together with experts, individual citizens, and members of the business community, thereby creating the first unified voice of civil society against corruption—a voice that has grown strong enough for politicians to hear it.

More than a hundred local ambassadors support the project, directly communicating with politicians and turning active citizenship into concrete and positive action. Of the 200 members of Parliament, 165 members publicly supported the proposed bills during our successful pledge campaign. As a result of our efforts, a long-delayed bill abolishing anonymous shares has been adopted. The remaining eight bills are in the current government's coalition agreement and the legislative plan for 2014.

In addition to our advocacy and watchdog activities, our lawyers work closely with partners from other fields and other countries, analysing and describing systemic political corruption and its causes and effects. Learn more about our work on good governance and transparency and related topics, including the results of our analytical work.

Empowering Active Citizens

We empower citizens and local communities by helping them to assert their rights and to actively participate in public affairs. Learn more.

We support those who want to achieve positive change in their neighbourhood, whether this entails protecting the environment, creating transparency in public administration, or combating corruption.

Each year, we provide more than 3,000 hours of free legal counselling to the public and long-term legal support to local initiatives with strong public interest, including training and capacity building. We actively connect citizens with local initiatives to share know-how and experience.

We involve law students in providing legal help to citizens through our internship programme, where we link theory with practice, helping students to see real-life stories and use their knowledge and skills on behalf of local communities.

Climate Litigation

We develop legal initiatives contributing to a step-by-step transformation towards clean and decentralized energy production in the EU. Learn more.

We act against the development of large centralized energy sources such as coal power plants, and we promote legal frameworks that support the integration of decentralized renewable energy generation.

Therefore, we implement legal strategies in order to halt the development or to minimize the negative impacts of large coal projects in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia. Moreover, we provide legal support to other European groups opposing large coal projects in their countries.

It is our belief that a gradual decentralization of energy generation will enhance the democratic principles of our society.

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