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, 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 way corporate activity is accounted for is crucial to shape the way investors and other stakeholders see and assess a corporation and essential for a corporation’s ability to create sustainable value.
The first EU-wide requirements to report environmental, social and governance information have come into effect in the financial year 2017 in the form of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive. More than 6,000 large companies will have to disclose information on their business model, policies, risks and outcomes regarding environmental, social and employee matters; respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues; and board diversity.
The objective is to lay the foundation for an integrated model of corporate reporting that complements financial transparency with other information necessary to understand a company’s development, performance and position, as well as the impact of its activity on society.
Frank Bold has been involved in the legislative process and in the European Commission Expert Group on Non-financial Reporting since the proposal was put forward. Our law firm continues to monitor and assist in the transposition of the European framework to national law. We advise companies on how to comply with the requirements, produce meaningful reports that serve their needs, as well as those of investors and other stakeholders, and improve their corporate governance. Similarly, we provide expert insight to organisations and institutions working on the Directive and partner with leading thinkers and practitioners to host specialised workshops.
The organisation is coordinating the Alliance for Corporate Transparency project, which is a three-year research project bringing together leading civil society organisations and experts with the aim of analysing the corporate disclosure on sustainability issues by the 1000 largest companies operating in the EU. The objective of this initiative is to serve as guidance to companies and regulators and provide data to substantiate the discussion on the standardisation of sustainability disclosure. To this end, the project is assessing how European companies disclose information necessary for understanding their impact on society and the environment, as required by the EU Non-financial Reporting (NFR) Directive.
The Purpose of the Corporation
The purpose of a company is whatever its founders wish it to be, as long as it is legal. The definition of purpose will drive business strategies and define their goals and milestones, it is the basis from which everything else flows when we come to discuss the corporation.
The principle of maximising shareholder value, which has dominated policy-making and corporate governance since the 1970s, 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 caused out 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.