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Sustainable Company

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SCOM (Sustainable Company)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-09-30

This project aimed at providing new inter- and multidisciplinary solutions to the challenges of sustainable corporate behaviour through the analysis of ‘best practices’ of ‘highly sustainable companies’, by using the experience of ‘green public procurement’ in the EU and especially in Catalunya as an example of how to successfully implement ‘sustainable’ concerns, while the implementation of the research findings into the university curricula shall contribute to solidifying the sustainable business model by internalizing such concerns by the future business officers and lawyers. A three-stage process has been envisaged to achieve a certain policy coherence for sustainability: in the field of public procurement, corporate law and corporate practices as well as in the field of higher education. Especially in the light of the current COVID19 pandemics, sustainability as the guiding principle of the reconstruction of our society and national and supranational economies requires simultaneous efforts in the private and public markets as well as other societal institutions. The topic of policy coherence, as developed by the SCOM Project, is of utmost importance in achieving a sustainable future, and should as such be a priority not only in terms of academic activity but first and foremost in terms of the implementation of scientific findings.
"Despite the quite separate scheme for the three different stages of the project, the first stage of research, dealing with 'greening' the public procurement across the EU entailed also work on making more 'sustainable' the academic curricula as well as dealing with the notions of fiduciary duties of directors of private companies. While keeping the structure of the project intact, the project attests to the need for policy coherence across diverse fields in the EU as the research has often been done in a parallel and overlapping manner. The main project's results are:

1. Sustainable Public Procurement
- The needed for simultaneous simplification and more detailed EU, national, and regional legal rules on sustainable public procurement
- The need for the development of IT tools supporting sustainable public procurement practices to ensure its higher uptake across the EU
- The need for an organic transition towards sustainable public procurement at the national, regional, and local levels, that requires an active engagement of public procurers,
supported by active policy-making and support at the institutional level.

2. Sustainable Corporate Behaviour and Law
- The need for understanding the impact of a particular industry on sustainable development (the size, the direction and the possibility for a rapid shift towards sustainability with
minimal negative social impact)
- The need for understanding that not only each industry but also each size of the company influences the actions that should be taken by the undertaking in consideration
- There is no 'one-size-fits-all' regulation for achieving sustainable business behavior (either regarding social or environmental sustainability), yet there are some common
denominators that can and should change in the framework in the EU and national corporate law and corporate governance:
- redefining corporate purpose in the light of the changed social reality
- revisiting the notion of shareholder primacy
- identifying the reposible corporate actors for sustainable corporate behavior
- substituting the 'polluter pays' principle with the 'precautionary' principle
- forming a policy following the sustainability hotspots to ensure a meaningful transition towards sustainability

3. Sustainability in Higher Education
- The understanding of Higher Education as one of the leaders in the societal transition towards sustainability, as a tool to raise awareness and a tool fostering sustainable behavior
of students as future leaders
- The sustainable reform is needed at the organisational level, research, and teaching (as well as the continuous sustainability education of educators)
- At the teaching level, the existing curricula should be revised in entirety: it is not enough to add 'sustainable' courses to the existing curricula but rather to reform the traditional
courses to account for the changed reality, and the present project created a report of how to do so in the case of corporate law and corporate governance, strategic management
and microeconomics

The dissemination activities carried out based on the project findings and outcomes:

1. XV. Harvard Law School Course on Law and Economics (2018)
2. SMART Presentation, Brussels (2018)
3. Driving Sustainability in European Public Procurement, Brussels (2018)
4. OECD Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum (2018)
5. University Jaume I: Presentation of the SCOM Project for promoting Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (2019)
6. University of Hertfordshire, London, UK (2019) Sustainable Supply Chains and Sustainable Corporate Law, guest lecturer.
7. IESE Doing Good Doing Well (DGDW) Conference (2019).
8. Daughters of Themis Workshop (2019), ""A critical assessment of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan in the light of the access to finance for circular economy projects.""
9. AEDE Conference (2019): ""The impact of e-Procurement on institutional quality"" (co-authorship) and ""Shareholder primacy as a social norm: unjustly inhibiting sustainable business.""
10. SMART Workshop on reform proposals, University Jaume I (2019), ""A critical assessment of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan in the light of the access to finance for circular economy projects.""
11. Global Climate Change Week 2019 (sole organiser), UPF (2019), presenting SCOM.
12. SMART Conference, Oslo (2019): ""Policy Coherence for Sustainable Public Procurement.""
13. Barcelona's Sustainability Report ""Nuevos Aires"" Conference (2019), ""Corporate Sustainability: Law and Practice.""
14. UN Climate Change Conference Madrid (2019), SCOM Project and the UPF Planetary Wellbeing Initiative.
15. ALEF Conference, Ankara (2019), three presentations on sustainability in the higher education.
16. GUNI Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education, Barcelona (2020), SCOM Project and the Planetary Wellbeing.
17. Global Sustainability Programme Conference at the Catalyst Sustainability Graduate School, Barcelona (2020), ""Sustainability in corporate law and practice.""
18. (In)Corporate Sustainability Conference, Barcelona (2020): the final conference of the SCOM Project, organised exclusively by the main researcher.
19. Law and Macroeconomics Conference, Yale University (2020), “Does E-procurement Matter for Economic Growth: Subnational Evidence from Australia.”
20. Finalist Judge at Reimagine Education Awards and Conference, San Francisco, USA (2020).
21. Professor of Business Law and Sustainability at ESSEC Paris, CEI Barcelona, Catalyst - Sustainability Graduate School in Barcelona, UPF Barcelona after the completion of the SCOM Project."
As to the progress beyond the state of the art, the implications differ depending on the nature of the part of the SCOM Project discussed, aside from the creation of a yearly conference to join forces from different disciplines across the private and public sector ((In)Corporate Sustainability Conference)), as noted in the previous section.