Corporate sustainability and shareholder activism in the Netherlands

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The involvement of companies is key for a sustainable society, but it is debated whether shareholders can stimulate the achievement of corporate sustainability goals. We investigate shareholder sustainability engagement in the Netherlands. First, we present the Dutch corporate law framework in a sustainability context. Dutch corporate law can generally be considered stakeholder-oriented. Afterwards, we present a novel empirical analysis of shareholder corporate sustainability engagement in the Netherlands using Dutch annual general meeting transcripts. We find that, although shareholders do not make use of their right to add proposals to the agenda to advocate corporate sustainability, shareholders do in fact use their right to ask questions. Our findings provide new indications that, in addition to the pivotal role of corporate boards, shareholders may be increasingly willing to play a positive role in corporate sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge handbook of corporate law, corporate governance and sustainability
EditorsBeate Sjåfjell, Christopher Bruner
PublisherCambridge University Press/UNEP
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781108658386
ISBN (Print)9781108473293
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Publication series

NameCambridge Handbook
PublisherCambridge University Press


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