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The environmental business case and unenlightened shareholder value

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Publication details

JournalLegal Studies
DateE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2012
DatePublished (current) - Mar 2013
Issue number1
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)141-161
Early online date10/10/12
Original languageEnglish


The business case for corporate environmental responsibility is the claim that behaving responsibly makes financial sense. It is impossible to exaggerate the contemporary significance of this claim, not least in legitimising environmental concerns in the corporate sphere. However, the business case is not without significant empirical and normative limitations, as is illustrated by the corporate environmental problem of supermarket waste. This paper evaluates enlightened shareholder value under s 172 of the Companies Act 2006 in light of such business case limitations. It suggests that s 172, by procedurally mandating the business case for corporate environmental responsibility, is a retrograde step which envisions not enlightened, but rather environmentally unenlightened, shareholders.


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