Sustainability in practice: corporate governance and investor relations

CEPS - Centre for European Policy Studies, 1 Place du Congrès/Congresplein, 1000 Brussels

Companies, investors and regulators continue to face tensions between short-term and long-term goals and incentives, tangible and intangible measures of performance, quantitative metrics and qualitative values. In order to thrive, companies must identify and manage a broad and diverse range of stakeholders, with often conflicting demands. For the most part, investors look at a company’s ability to generate positive returns. Many argue that sustainability is the only way forward, and that incorporating ESG factors into corporate strategies will eventually improve client satisfaction and maintain a competitive edge. Such transitions must be carried out against the backdrop of highly scrutinised supply chains, enhanced board independence and senior management accountability, more complex ownership schemes, proliferating shareholder activism, the growing influence of proxy advisory firms, greater rights for minority shareholders, engagement with institutional investors and transparency for retail investors. But these approaches can vary significantly across regions, industries and companies.

Action 10 of the Commission’s Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth puts an emphasis on fostering sustainable corporate governance and attenuating short-termism in capital markets. Are existing corporate governance rules and frameworks fit for purpose? What strategic and/or operational aspects are specifically related to ESG factors? What models and expectations are relevant to SMEs compared to large companies? Is there a difference between active and passive investment strategies? And what about the quality of institutional investors’ own governance, fiduciary duties, share voting, ‘stewardship’ and oversight of portfolio companies?



  • Odile de Brosses, Director for Legal Affairs, French Association of Large Companies (AFEP)
  • Carey Evans, Director, Global Public Policy, BlackRock
  • Andreas Gustafsson, General Counsel Europe, Nasdaq & Member of the Swedish Corporate Governance Board
  • Josina Kamerling, Head of Regulatory Outreach EMEA, CFA Institute
  • Angeliki Vogiatzi, Senior Policy Officer, Corporate Finance & Reporting Team, Investors & Issuers Department, ESMA

Moderated by: Jesper Lau Hansen, Professor of Financial Markets Law, University of Copenhagen


Please do not hesitate to contact Cosmina Amariei by email at: cosmina.amariei@ceps.eu or by phone on +32 222 93 955.