The role of stewardship on the path to sustainable European companies
PhD student: Mrs M. Och
Promotor: V. Colaert
Duration: 1/9/2020 - 31/8/2024
In recent years, the European Union has embarked on a quest to include the notion of sustainability in its financial law framework through legislation on standard definitions, disclosure and benchmarks. Institutional investors can have a very significant impact on the sustainability of companies. Yet, their perspective and how they can be encouraged to utilize their control over listed companies through stewardship has been less prominent in the debate. I will evaluate
the existing framework that governs the relationship between investors and companies in regard to its effectiveness in enhancing the sustainability of companies as well as its coherence, and propose policy alternatives to foster the goal of enhanced sustainability. One essential building block of this framework will be an evaluation of the Shareholder Rights Directive II and its recent implementation in different Member States to determine if new or amended legislation is necessary. In addition to this EU internal comparison, I will conduct comparative research with the United States and the United Kingdom. The overall objective of my research is to propose a legal framework that fosters sustainable stewardship. To that end, I will answer the research question: Are the EU measures on stewardship effective and coherent in light of the ESG goals expressed in these policy documents? If not, how could they be amended to more effectively reach those goals?