ecoDa newsletter – September 2020

EcoDan syyskuun uutiskirje sisältää runsaasti kansainvälistä corporate governance -asiaa. DIFin jäsenet voivat samalla ilmoittautua eurooppalaisen kattojärjestömme mielenkiintoisiin webinaareihin.

1. Ongoing development on Corporate Governance at the European Parliament

While the European Commission issued its survey on Directors’ Duties this summer, the European Parliament will shortly present two own-initiatives reports, one on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability and the other one on sustainable Corporate Governance. Both topics are perceived as top priorities for the EP, resulting in intensified discussions.
Regarding the Due Diligence file, some MEPs stresses that the burden of proof should be shifted from the victims to the company and recommends that the legislation include criminal liability provisions for companies and directors and management that are held responsible in the event of severe violations of human rights.
Regarding Directors’ Duties, some MEPs are considering widening the scope of future legislation to include additional topics such as limitation of executive remuneration, the composition of boards of directors, the possibility of giving preferential rights to long-term shareholders.
ecoDa is actively providing comments on these topics to MEPs.


2. A new episode in ecoDa’s series ”European Board Members Walking their Talk”

After the first video was released in April, from the Directors’ Institute of Finland, it is now our Belgian member that reflect on how boards of directors are dealing with ESG and sustainable development.
In this new episode, Executive Director, Sandra Gobert, of Guberna, interviewing Thomas Leysen, Chairman of Umicore and Mediahuis. Thomas Leysen explains how he, as Chairman, supported a shift in Umicore’s culture by placing sustainability at the heart of strategy of the the company. According to Leysen, ”a company can only be successful over the long term if it integrates a sustainability thinking in all its dimensions into its strategy”.


3. ecoDa-Mazars joint report ”Putting sustainability at the heart of business”

During late 2019 and early 2020, ecoDa and Mazars held a series of roundtables across a range of key European capital markets. They brought leading directors and investors together to discuss how they can have an effective dialogue, based on a mutual commitment to promoting sustainable success for the benefit of their stakeholders and wider society.
This publication highlights the progress made by the European business community on the adoption of a sustainable approach to business, the current challenges faced and, having regard to these, maps out a direction for reform.


4. ecoDa’s Upcoming Webinars

A joint webinar with AIG on cybersecurity (September 15):
Cybersecurity-related risk issues are ranking high on the agenda of boards. This trend is not likely to reverse as the pace of digitalization accelerates in the light of the Covid-19 crisis.
Our high-level speakers will investigate how boards could limit their cyber risks and ensure their organization’s cyber resilience. Indeed, whatever the sector or the size, all companies can be subjected to and devastated by cyber attacks. Therefore, it is time to bolster the cybersecurity maturity of companies.
Last chance to register is here.

A joint webinar with Crowell & Moring on whistleblowing (October 15):
This webinar will focus on the new EU directive on whistleblowing, its legal implications as well as the resulting challenges. Our panel of experts will provide attendees with concrete advice and inputs from both a board perspective and a legal stand point. They will bring an EU and US perspective.
You can register here.


5. Corporate Governance and less hierarchical organizations

For the next edition of the Corporate Governance Dialogue that will take place on September 29, Matthieu Leclercq (Former Chair of Decathlon) and Marie-Bernard Guillaume (Partner and Director at Mercuri Urval) will present their own experiences in flat management. A group of experts will then discuss the topic from a Corporate Governance perspective.


6. Join our European training for board members

There are still possibilities to join the online fall edition of ecoDa’s Training programme (October 22 & 23, 2020). Do not hesitate to contact us ! ()


7. A new book on Corporate Governance in startups

A new book on “Corporate Governance in Startups” has just been published by Luc Sterckx, member of Guberna and an ecoDa alumni.
The need for appropriate Governance in startups is more and more acknowledged. However, experience show that workable and efficient governance in startups differ from governance in bigger companies. The book clarifies the distinctions needed to be made between Corporate Governance in startups and in bigger companies, in particular, in the context of the limited means of a startup. It deals with both the structural and the legal basis of Governance in startups based on the author’s extensive experience from many companies. Sterckx points out very practical implementation including setting the right priorities.