Call on the Australian Government to adopt The Code for Corporate Citizenship
Corporations formed pursuant to Australian law should never cause severe damage to the environment. Yet, a small number of companies – less than one per cent of all companies – are doing just that, through the daily emission of huge quantities of greenhouse gases.
Section 181 of the Australian Corporations Act (2001) encourages this behaviour by requiring corporate directors to act in the best interests of their company – even when their company is discovered to be causing serious damage to the environment. Parliament’s job is to protect the environment, not sponsor the formation of companies which destroy it.
This flaw must be corrected. When Section 181 was drafted, the adverse effect of greenhouse gas emissions was not as well understood as it is today. The pursuit of a corporation’s best interests should no longer include operating in a manner which causes severe harm to the environment.
The Code for Corporate Citizenship – eleven words which are to be added to Section 181: “but not at the expense of severe harm to the environment” – will eliminate the flaw and impose on company directors a duty to protect the environment when their company is discovered to be causing it severe harm.
We call on the Australian Parliament to adopt The Code for Corporate Citizenship.
You can add your name to this Open Letter here:
Dr. Michael Axtens