Firm news | May 17, 2023

Manne Airaksinen a Doctor of Laws in company law

Our Senior Advisor Manne Airaksinen, among the best at company law in Finland and the father of the Finnish Companies' Act, has defended his doctoral dissertation about shareholder centricity, stakeholders and sustainability in the company law system. In his dissertation, he argues that enacting significantly stricter environmental standards is preferable to changing the purpose of a company in order to contribute to a cleaner planet.

Why did you choose this subject?

“The limited liability company is the most important business form in market economies. Climate change and biodiversity loss are arguably the most pressing issues that humankind is facing at present.  My dissertation combines these two by asking if the purpose of the company should be reconsidered due to the current environmental crisis. The theme seemed relevant to me, and company law is something I have been working with for a long time and in different roles.”

What are the main concerns and themes that you can pinpoint?

“The fundamental question is to what extent the shareholder centrist company law system is to be blamed for the current state of the environment and if changing the purpose of a company would make sense, considering, among other things, the need to maintain approximately the current standard of living. The alternative is to enact significantly stricter environmental standards, which would seem to be a preferable course of action. While everyone needs to contribute to a cleaner planet, the main culprits are, I understand, certain business sectors on the one hand and an increasing number of more and more affluent people on the other hand.”

“Changing the purpose of a company is a blunt instrument whereas specific legislation can address specific problems. Changing the company purpose would likely have a negative impact on efficiency and on attracting the private investment needed for the green transition.  Efficiency, for instance, is important both for business and for attracting investments, as well as for the environment.”

What will you be doing now?

I have agreed to continue as a senior advisor for the firm, primarily dealing with company law issues, and I would like to thank Roschier for the support during this project. Particularly our library is excellent, and our chief librarian Hannele Lindell is a true professional. I have some semi-academic backlog to clear, including a new digital edition of our leading company law commentary. I have always been rather active in the Nordic countries and there are some discussions about me lecturing in Sweden, for instance.

Manne Airaksinen defended his doctoral dissertation “Osakkeenomistajakeskeisyys, sidosryhmät ja yhteiskuntavastuu osakeyhtiöoikeuden järjestelmässä” (Shareholder centricity, stakeholders, and sustainability in the company law system) at the University of Helsinki in early May. The dissertation has been published by Alma Talent.