Responsible Companies

Image courtesy of European Parliament

We develop and promote new business models that better integrate societal interests in corporate purpose, governance, and decision-making.

We recognize the key role that corporations play in society but we also see the struggles of the corporate sector to act sustainably and ethically and to respond to the fundamental challenges we face as a society, including climate change and inequality.

By working with businesses and leading scholars and NGOs, we strive to revision the corporation and its relationship with society. In addition, in the area of human rights we aim to bridge existing global governance gaps and strengthen the enforcement of laws and individuals’ ability to assert their rights.

The Purpose of the Corporation

The question of the purpose of the corporation has always been with us. It is the basis from which everything else flows when we come to discuss the corporation. Yet it is not something that most of us spend a lot of time thinking about. We should.

The principle of maximising shareholder value, which dominates policy-making and corporate governance since the 1990s, not only forces companies to create negative externalities but has detrimental impacts on innovation, sustainability and even financial performance over the long run..

The Purpose of the Corporation Project provides a strategic, open-source platform for leading business and civil society experts and academics interested in promoting the long-term health and sustainability of publicly listed companies policy-making and business management. The goal of the project is to develop and promote new options for corporate governance models and regulation.

Business and Human Rights

There is an international consensus that business entities have a duty to respect human rights irrespective of where they operate. The problem is that corporate related abuse of human rights occurs mostly in weak governance countries with dysfunctional or inefficient judicial systems, while the law governing responsibility of companies and their directors in their home, e.g. European, jurisdictions insulates them from the legal consequences of adverse impacts because the harms are typically causedout by foreign subsidiaries or suppliers.

This legal gap encourages and rewards irresponsible behaviour.

We work to solve this problem by promoting the concept of human rights due diligence and solutions to barriers facing victims of human rights violations.