What drives sustainability in companies?

Examining the influence of board level employee representation on responsible practices in large European companies

Sigurt Vitols, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)

» Full paper: ilera-2019-paper-288-Vitols.pdf

Although the literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability practices has become very large, almost no studies have looked at the influence of worker representation on these kinds of practices. This is surprising given that workers are universally seen as one of the central stakeholders in companies. Using data gathered by a sustainability ratings firm Vigeo Eiris on sustainability practices at large European companies (STOXX 600), this paper shows that having employee representatives on company boards has a positive and significant association with better sustainability practices across the board, including not only human resources practices, but also human rights, environmental, community involvement and other business practice policy domains.