Of everything that’s written and talked about corporate social responsibility, there’s still a lack of real action, say two professors of finance and economics, Dirk Schoenmaker of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Rutger Claassen of Utrecht University. The two academics have compiled this year’s ‘pre-advies’, a statement of policy advice based on their research on corporate governance and social interest from the De Koninklijke Vereniging voor de Staathuishoudkunde (Dutch Royal Association for Public Economics, KVS), which is presented to the ministry responsible for the Dutch economy.

In their report, entitled Corporate Governance en het Maatschappelijk Belang (Corporate Governance and Social Interest), the real action is still too often lacking, say professors Rutger Claassen and Dirk Schoenmaker, who this year compiled the independent opinion statement of the economists’ association KVS on corporate governance and social interest. The professors say it’s time to walk the talk when it comes to corporate social responsibility. They say that methods to measure broad value have already been developed and frontrunner businesses are already applying them. Soon, there will be a new European Directive on sustainable reporting that will require complete transparency in reports from companies about CO2 emissions and their environmental and social impact on issues such as biodiversity loss and human rights violations – and if workers along the whole supply chain get a living wage.

Frontrunners are already participating

The professors’ report invites businesses and organisations to participate in the major sustainability transitions currently taking place in energy, circularity, and food, rather than continuing to resist, or succumbing to inertia. Frontrunners are already using new business models to seize opportunities offered by the post-transition world, and the professors’ report explores the role of corporate governance in this transition.

The professors explore steering companies towards broad value, and the roles of shareholders, supervisory directors, and corporate governance. They talk about the need for new structures for ownership and control, and how to organise accountability to stakeholders – including stakeholders from future generations.

Most of the authors of the opinion piece about evidence-based policy argue that corporate social responsibility also requires appropriate corporate governance, and to that end they make practical proposals.

This year's independent opinions from the KVS on Corporate Governance and Social Interest was edited by Prof. Rutger Claassen of Utrecht University and Prof. Dirk Schoenmaker of RSM. It includes contributions by Prof. Arnoud Boot of the University of Amsterdam, Barbara Baarsma CEO of Rabo Carbon Bank, and Prof. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk of the University of Groningen.

The first copy of the volume will be presented to the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, Micky Adriaansens. After the presentation, Pauline Meer van der Mohr, chair of the Monitoring Committee Corporate Governance Code and Werner Schouten, director of the Impact Economy Foundation will comment.

You can read the advise (in Dutch) here.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

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