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 started the Purpose of the Corporation Project with the aim of creating anapolitical platform to develop a coherent vision for a new paradigm of corporate governance which will be more beneficial for society.

To encourage debate, we draw 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.

We are concluding a global roundtable series on corporate governance bringing together experts from business, academia, regulators and civil society to develop new options for corporate governance models and regulation.

Learn more on our project website: www.purposeofcorporation.org and stay up to date with developments through Twitter and our LinkedIn group The Purpose of the Corporation.

Corporate Accountability

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

As a steering group member of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, we work with other civil society groups and renowned legal experts to implement in law the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and address barriers that prevent victims of corporate-related abuse from gaining access to an effective remedy. We have organized a global research project providing an authoritative answer to the question of whether human rights due diligence is a regulatory option. We have articulated the need, legal authority and opportunities for enshrining strong measures of protection for judicial avenues of redress for victims of corporate related human rights abuses.

In 2013, we supported the adoption of a legislative proposal on social and environmental reporting by large corporations through European Parliament (the so-called Non-Financial Reporting Directive).

Learn more about the topics we focus on: human rights due diligence and duty of care, non-financial disclosure, andvictims' access to justice.

Reconstruction of the State

We promote good governance and reform politics in the Czech Republic by advocating for the adoption of strong anti-corruption legislation. Learn more.

In 2013, we launched the largest Czech anti-corruption initiative with the aim of creating a diverse platform of partners and providing a fresh impetus to national anti-corruption reform. The Reconstruction of the State Project is a joint program of civil society organizations, businesses, experts, citizens, and politicians who advocate and actively participate in the process of preparation and promotion of key anti-corruption laws to prevent the abuse of power, and reduce opportunities for corruption and misuse of public funds.

As a unique citizen-led advocacy project, Reconstruction of the State has since inspired similar initiatives in Hungary and Slovakia.

We believe that success in both politics and business can be achieved by playing fair. By shedding more light on public institutions, we hope to help those playing by the rules, while also encouraging citizens’ participation and rebuilding trust in politics.

Empowering Active Citizens and Municipalities

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 communities, 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 support municipalities that want to be smart, fair and open for their citizens. We advise on transparent procedures of decision making, effective public procurement and meaningful land use planning. We believe that partnerships between municipalities and citizens are vital to develop better communities.

Climate and Energy Litigation

We develop legal initiatives that contribute 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.

To this end, we implement legal strategies in order to halt the development or to minimize the negative impacts of large coal projects in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moreover, we provide legal support to other European groups opposing coal projects in their countries. Coal based electricity generation is one of the major sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which are the main driver of climate change.

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

Transparency & Fight against corruption

We work towards laws and policies that help citizens keep their governments in check, ensure that public decisions are made in an open and transparent manner and promote the use of public money for public, not private, interests Learn more.

Across Europe, citizens’ trust in governments and public institutions is alarmingly low. Working with partners from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia, as well as at the EU level, we develop and promote laws and policies to increase transparency and open governance, help prevent and detect corruption, and encourage citizens’ participation.

In 2015, we contributed to the adoption of the Czech Contract Register Act—an innovative measure to ensure transparency in public contracting. Inspired by a similar law in Slovakia, similar acts now only exist in the two Central European countries, proving effective in increasing transparency and quality in public procurement, and public contracting in general.

Since 2011, we have been facilitating an ongoing discussion on the corporate governance and oversight of municipality- and state-owned enterprises, which are one of the major vehicles driving corruption. We monitor and actively participate in reforming the system of political party funding, and advocate for greater lobby transparency.

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