Amsterdam Business School professors Ans Kolk and Arnoud Boot participated in a roundtable of the standing Parliamentary committee on Finance on the topic of corporate social responsibility in state ownership (majority and minority shareholding). Boot participated in the first round of this roundtable, Kolk in the second.
Both Boot (Finance section) and Kolk (Strategy and International Business section) delineated specifics concerning the role of the government and its responsibilities in case of state ownership, taking into account factors such as extent of involvement/shares, as well as ways to realise a better balance between environmental, social and economic objectives in the absence of civil society and market pressure for change. They also noted the importance of focus on a limited number, and the most pressing CSR objectives (particularly when it comes to not meeting CSR targets, or violations).
Kolk also elaborated on the trade-offs inherent to CSR, not just between economic objectives and CSR issues, but also within different elements of CSR. For example, how using smart energy meters to reduce energy consumption might potentially infringe on privacy rights, or how higher energy prices resulting from internalization of environmental costs may lead to energy poverty. At the request of the committee, Kolk has explained her views in more detail in a position paper (in Dutch), in which she also reflected on the current government approach vis-à-vis state ownership and CSR/sustainability.