Responsible Management Lectures: Reimagining the ‘corporate purpose’

October 27, 2022, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
B002 FH Wien der WKW

With the lecture series “Responsible Management Lectures”, we want to initiate an interdisciplinary discourse about the future of our economic system with a particular focus on economic, sustainability and business ethical aspects. Since the winter semester of 2012, we have been organizing a lecture series on business ethics and sustainability topics on a regular basis. For the winter semester of 2022/2023, we have chosen Supply Chains and Human Rights as the overarching topic for the lecture series.

We are delighted that Dr. Tara Van Ho, Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex will give a lecture in English.




Reimagining the ‘corporate purpose’



Is a corporation’s only purpose to make profits for its shareholders or does it need to serve a greater public interest? The Anglo-American model of a corporate purpose – narrowly linked to financial growth and shareholder interests – has dominated not only Anglo-American legal systems but the global economy and the management approaches of most transnational corporations, including those that originate in domestic systems where corporations have a different role in society. The impact on human rights and the environment has been staggering. The corporate purpose has been used to justify: increased fossil fuel developments despite their existential threat through climate change; participating in China’s oppression of Uyghurs; selling arms and technology to states actively engaged in war crimes; keeping wages artificially low; and raising energy prices even as energy companies enjoy record profits. In this lecture, Dr Van Ho will explore the nature and purpose of a corporation, arguing that a narrow understanding of the corporate purpose is one of our greatest social threats and is antithetical to a sustainable future. She will call for a broader understanding of the corporate purpose centred on human rights, including the right to a healthy environment, and will explain what this approach would require of corporations and the state that are supposed to govern them.


Registration is requested.
We are looking forward to your participation!