In the face of recent opposition addressed to the EU Commission by some business associations and specific governments from Nordic Europe, NGOs have reiterated their support for the European Commission commitment to present an initiative on Sustainable Corporate Governance in 2021, following the roadmap set in the EU Green Deal and the Action Plan on Sustainable Finance. 

The European Commission’s initiative is critically needed to clarify expectations about how directors should engage with sustainability and to ensure meaningful action is taken. This is important not only to ensure the success of the parallel initiatives on due diligence and sustainability reporting, but it is also indispensable on its own merit to enable companies to be truly sustainable. 

The NGOs, among them WWF, Oxfam and the Economy for the Common Good (ECG) reaffirm the need to clarify in the upcoming law the obligations of the Board members in order to ensure that corporate governance practice is significantly more sustainable, responsible and focused on the long term. This clarification can be implemented within the scope of existing company law and directors’ duties provided in the Member States’ law. It is therefore difficult to understand the frontal opposition shown to this agenda by specific governments and business associations. 

The undersigned organisations call on EU policymakers to maintain the ambition of delivering specific solutions to tackle sustainability gaps in corporate governance and urge interested parties to engage in the discussion in good faith.

ECG has also recently released a press statement on the revised EU sustainability reporting rules, the Non-Financial Reporting Directive, now Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Read the full letter to Vice President Timmermanns, 24 May 2021: NGO support for the EU Commission plans on Sustainable Corporate Governance and response to criticism.