Public Policy Research Cluster Distinguished Lecture: The Public Corporation: Enemy of the Environment?

Research Cluster

Speaker:Gordon Clark, University of Oxford
Date: Tuesday 19 April 2016
Time: 4pm
Location: Constantine Levantis Teaching Room, Building: one

Further details

The public corporation is one of the pillars of modern capitalist economies. With many of the rights and privileges of individuals, we rely upon the corporation to produce goods and services, income and employment opportunities, and to invest in the future. And yet, its critics are damning: Naomi Klein and Joel Bakan accuse the modern corporation of being a malign ‘being’, even pathological in its pursuit of profit, and the enemy of environmental sustainability.

In this lecture, I rehearse the issues arguing that the ‘problem’ of the modern corporation in relation to the environment is less about its goals and objectives than it is about how it is organised and managed. My lecture focuses upon the acquisition and use of information within the corporation and the authority of managers to act on behalf of the corporation and the long-term interests of society. I also consider whether the public corporation has outlived its usefulness and whether it is simply unable to make good on its larger responsibilities.

The lecture closes with reference to other ways of organising the production and distribution of welfare considering, in particular, whether the so-called Benefit Corporation might be the solution.

Short biography

Gordon L Clark FBA DSc is Professor and Director of the Smith School at Oxford University, holds a Professorial Fellowship at St Edmund Hall, is the Sir Louis Matheson Distinguishing Visiting Professor in the Department of Banking and Finance at Monash University, and is a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. His research and teaching focuses upon the performance of the global investment management industry, the role of corporations in market economies, and individual behaviour in the context of risk and uncertainty.

Recent books include Sovereign Wealth Funds: Legitimacy, Governance and Global Power with Adam Dixon and Ashby Monk (Princeton University Press 2013) and the forthcoming Institutional Investors in Global Markets: An Organisational Perspective with Ashby Monk (Oxford University Press 2017). He has also advised a number of leading corporations and financial institutions as well as governments on issues such as governance and environmental sustainability.

If you would like to book a place, please contact Lauren Witkin ( by Friday 15 April.

Date, location and timings

Tuesday 19th April 2016 Constantine Levantis, 2nd Floor of Building:One, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU