CORPORATE PURPOSE AND STAKEHOLDER GOVERNANCE
University of Helsinki, Faculty of law, 15 December 2022
Hybrid event | 09:00 – 16:00 (EET)
Ever since company law scholarship was eclipsed by economics there have been few serious
challenges to the idea that the principal job of company directors – indeed their legal duty – is to
maximize shareholder value. The majority opinion in most jurisdictions has been that this is the
essence of company law as it stands and that is how the law should be also in the future. This status
quo has been shaken in recent years by pressing calls for a new paradigm that would take better
into account interests of all company stakeholders and the society at large. The revitalized debate
about corporate purpose is part of a larger dialogue about responsive capitalism and the role of
businesses in addressing climate change, inequality and other wicked problems of the twenty-first
century. Most agree, however, that more than little tweaks in company laws and governance codes
will be needed if the incentives of companies’ boards and management are to be totally and
effectively re-aligned with societal objectives. While such a reform programme is yet to emerge, it
is clear that shareholder primacy is facing its most serious challenge so far. The agenda of
“stakeholder capitalism” has spurred high-level policy manifestos, private-sector initiatives and
even legislative reforms.
This conference brings together distinguished international academics to take stock of the ongoing
corporate purpose debate and to assess the agenda’sfate in the new political and economic climate.
Participation in the conference is free of charge. Please register using this form by December 5th,
2022 (also indicating whether you would like to participate in person or virtually).
The conference will be streamed here.
The conference has been made possible by Lauri Cederberg Fund.
Programme and speaker
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