Recent discussions with regard to top salaries in the energy sector and the privatisation of Schiphol Airport indicate that politicians, as well as average citizens, are concerned about these seemingly conflicting interests. In her inaugural address as professor of Law and Infrastructures at TU Delft, Prof. Helen Stout asserts that market forces nor legislation is satisfactory. “Public interests can best be safeguarded in utilities industries by strengthening the desired standards and values within companies and organisations.” Prof. Stout is scheduled to deliver her address on Friday 21 September.
Market forces can, in the liberalised utilities industries such as the telecom, electricity, gas and public transport branches, endanger the interests of the public. A realistic concern. Nowadays, the overcapacity on the electric power system ensures that the chance of a power failure is very small. But just who looks after the interests of the public if privatised utility companies decide to cut down on overcapacity?
Market forces are, therefore, according to Helen Stout, insufficient motivation to encourage companies to take responsibility for public values. In Prof. Stout’s opinion, legislation and rules are also ineffective. Stout: “A system of licences, such as is now the case in the railway industry, completely negates the benefits of liberalisation. The price and quality of rail services are not achieved in the give and take between supply and demand, but rather is decided unilaterally by one side.” In her speech, Stout calls for the institutionalisation of public interests in the company itself.
According to Stout, institutional anchoring can be achieved on three levels: the executive board, the board of commissioners and the shareholders meeting. In her opinion, the inspiration for this can be drawn from the Corporate Governance Code of the Tabaksblatt Commission of 2003. Concrete examples include the requirement for the board of directors to report their compliance with this type of code in its annual report; the creation of a permanent consultation circuit with representatives from government, users and social organisations; a “broad” base profile, laid down by statute, of a member of the board of commissioners; and permitting social organisations to own stocks.
All of this, Stout says, can be implemented without the need for additional legislation. Stout is optimistic about the possibilities of changing the culture within companies. “To an increasing degree, businesses are starting to describe themselves as entities that are both aware of, and dare to take, their social responsibilities. Rein Willems, CEO of Shell Netherlands, expressed a similar sentiment recently in the NRC Handelsblad, saying: “Life is about more than simply earning a living.”
Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
How Strong Brands Translate into Money
15.11.2016 | Kühne Logistics University - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung
Demographic change depresses tax revenues
04.11.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering