Successful Webinar on Corporate Sustainability, Financial Accounting and Share Capital Held


On 6 April, the ELI Corporate Sustainability, Financial Accounting and Share Capital Project Team hosted a public webinar. Speakers offered insights into the team’s findings and expected outcome.

Project Co-Reporter Corrado Malberti (Associate Professor of Commercial Law, University of Trento) opened and chaired the webinar.

Yuri Biondi (Senior Tenured Research Fellow, National Centre for Scientific Research of France (CNRS)), the project’s Co-Reporter, outlined the project’s purpose, its expected outcome and findings. He clarified that the project aims at producing a set of recommendations, summarised in a statement of principles, that seek to contribute to the global and European debate in the field. To achieve its goals, the Project Team developed several reports reviewing the current legal framework, as well as country reports on jurisdictions inside and outside the European Union. The team, in their findings, stresses the need to comprehensively review the law and regulation on corporate sustainability as the current capital maintenance regime does not refer to long-term sustainability and is threatened by regulatory competition between Member States. Furthermore, the current framework depends on international accounting standards, which are weakened by current value measurements (fair value accounting). The Project Team advocates harmonisation of the subject at EU level. Biondi went on to briefly present aspects of the team’s draft set of Principles, namely on the prudent use of resources, better controlling of distributions and provisioning, encouraging sustainable business conduct and focusing attention on new kinds of distributions and on limiting distributions of non-realised gains. 

Project Team Member Anne Le Manh (Associate Professor, Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) Europe) gave an overview on the position in Member States’ in the field. In her analysis, Le Manh examined the financial principles applied for profit distribution, the legal bases of dividend distributions, the requirement of a legal reserve, unrealised gains and restrictions on dividend distribution and finally, financial transactions that impact shareholders´ equity. She described a very fragmented picture among Member States: national legislations diverge significantly, even when transposing EU legislation. For Instance, only ten Members States comply with Directive 2017/1132.

Clemence Garcia (Project Team Member; Professor, Gakushuin University), Akio Hoshi (Project Team Member; Associate Professor, Gakushuin University) and Mioko Takahashi (Professor, Hosei University) presented a case study on Japan, given the jurisdiction’s mixed accounting standards which reflect German and American influences. Hoshi and Takahashi also informed those present of the regulation of equity capital in Japan, focusing on two main aspects: financial reporting and capital maintenance.

The concluding remarks were delivered by Project Co-Reporter Colin Haslam (Professor of Accounting and Finance, Queen Mary University of London). In the course of doing so he emphasised the importance of the project.

Participants then had the opportunity to share their views and pose questions to the speakers during a 30-minute Q&A session.

More information on previous and upcoming ELI webinars is available here.

The webinar recording is available below:

The PowerPoint presentations from the event are available here: