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ESG, Social Enterprises and Corporate Purpose

15 November @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

No other types of businesses are more committed to the advancement of ESG goals than social enterprises. They play a critical role in furthering a sustainable society by tackling climate challenges, alleviating poverty, enhancing access to education, and generating employment. Yet, there is little critical legal analysis of social enterprises. This presentation examines the relationship between ESG, corporate purpose, social innovation and social enterprises. I analyse the problems with the social enterprises in the UK (the community interest company), the US (the benefit corporation and social purpose corporation) and Asia. I consider what an optimal legal form for social enterprises should be, bearing in mind the distinctive social, economic and political contexts within which they operate. To do so, my latest book develops a framework for designing and evaluating social enterprise law and policy comprising: (1) corporate purpose; (2) directors’ duties; (3) decision-making powers; (4) reporting, impact measurement and certification; and (5) distribution of dividends, assets, and tax benefits. This presentation will be of interest to those seeking to understand how comparative law can and should be used to promote sustainable businesses.

Speaker: Ernest Lim

Ernest Lim, DPhil, BCL (Oxford), LLM (Harvard) and LLB (NUS), is Vice Dean and Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore (NUS). His research interests lie in comparative corporate law and governance as well as private law. He is the author of three monographs with Cambridge University Press: Social Enterprises in Asia: A New Legal Form (2023), Sustainability and Corporate Mechanisms in Asia (2020) and A Case for Shareholders’ Fiduciary Duties in Common Law Asia (2019), which won the SLS Peter Birks Runner-Up Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship. He is also co-editor of The Cambridge Handbook on Private Law and AI (forthcoming May 2024). He has been elected to the Robert S Campbell Visiting Fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has delivered distinguished and keynote lectures at Hong Kong University and UCL. Prior to joining academia, he practised law in the New York office of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

Chair: Professor Eva Micheler 


15 November
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Law Events


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