Send an enquiry now >

Companies (Directors Duties) Amendment Bill (Member's Bill 75-1: Duncan Webb)

Richard

The Clerk of the House drew 5 Members' Bills from the fabled biscuit tin on 23 September 2021. The Companies (Directors Duties) Amendment Bill was drawn, sponsored by Christchurch lawyer and former LCRO Member Duncan Webb. The short bill reads:

Section 131 amended (Duty of directors to act in good faith and in best interests of company)

After section 131(4), insert:

(5) To avoid doubt, a director of a company may, when determining the best interests of the company, take into account recognised environmental, social and governance factors, such as:

(a) recognising the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi):
(b) reducing adverse environmental impacts:
(c) upholding high standards of ethical behaviour:
(d) following fair and equitable employment practices:
(e) recognising the interests of the wider community.
It could be a model for reforms being undertaken in Part 9 of the Immigration Act 2009.
This Member's Bill may travel under the radar, but if enact could have signifcant impact on persons as corporate citizens, such as in climate change matters (Kamalnath "Corporate responsibility for climate change creates a new era in tort law? Hold your horses" [2020] NZLJ 129 ) and other ethically troubling issues - see for example: Nevsun Resources Ltd. v Araya 2020 SCC 5, Vedanta Resources plc. v Lungowe [2019] UKSC 20.  On this tack, see further, Akshaya Kamalnath “Corporate Insolvency Resolution Law in India - A Proposal to Overcome the 'Initiation Problem” (2019-2020) UMKC L. Rev. 631.

The Bill and commentary raised above are in keeping with the hardhitting speech of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in support of the report released on 23 September 2021 as well (UN Secretary-General António Guterres says a report published[23/9/21] by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a “code red for humanity.” [Guterres: The IPCC Report is a code red for humanity (unric.org).

This "plain Jeremy" private member's bill may prove very impactful in an understated way. It first needs to progress.