Should companies primarily serve the interests of shareholders, or are they responsible to a broader set of stakeholders, including their own workers? The financial crisis has exposed the deficits of the current regulatory framework for companies, as it prioritizes short-term shareholder value at the expense of the long-term interests of stakeholders.

In this book, members of the GOODCORP network of researchers and trade unionists present their proposals for European company law which would encourage companies to follow sustainable, stakeholder-oriented strategies. Key proposals include: revising our understanding of the firm and its key stakeholders; strengthening stakeholder ‘voice’ in companies; increasing the transparency of companies through binding requirements for social and environmental reporting; and negotiating employee-friendly agreements with investors through collective bargaining.

This book follows up on The Sustainable Company: a new approach to corporate governance (published by the ETUI in 2011 and edited by Vitols and Kluge), which outlined GOODCORP’s vision of an alternative to the shareholder value orientation of the current system of corporate governance.

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Table of contents

full text

Chapter 1: Andrew Johnston Recent developments in stakeholder theory: from the productive coalition to the governance of social cost

Chapter 2: Inger Marie Hagen and Bernard Johann Mulder Why stakeholders?

Chapter 3: Aline Conchon Regulating company law: the need for a holistic approach

Chapter 4: Jan Cremers From harmonisation to regulatory competition

Chapter 5: Johannes Heuschmid The protection of workers under EU company law – the current position and future prospects

Chapter 6: Jonas Malmberg, Erik Sjödin and Niklas Bruun EU company law and employee involvement – some perspectives on future developments

Chapter 7: Marie Seyboth Worker participation as an element of the democratic principle in Europe – A critique of the codetermination-relevant aspects of the Refl ection Group report

Chapter 8: Wolfgang Däubler Investor agreements and collective labour law

Chapter 9: Ingemar Hamskär The importance of worker representatives on company boards and their right to consult with their trade union organisation and its management

Chapter 10: Isabelle Schömann The current state of information and consultation rights in the European Union

Chapter 11: Carsten Herzberg Extending the stakeholder approach to the community: mechanisms for participative modernisation in public utilities

Chapter 12: Janet Williamson The emperor’s new clothes – enlightened shareholder value and the UK Stewardship Code

Chapter 13: Beate Sjåfjell Regulating companies as if the world matters: refl ections from the ongoing ‘Sustainable Companies’ project

Chapter 14: Janja Hojnik Sustainability reporting and the modernisation of EU accounting rules

Chapter 15: Wolfgang Kowalsky and Claudia Menne ETUC for strengthening employee involvement

Author biographies

Table of contents