Keywords: innovation-inducing regulation, knowledge creation, knowledge-based firm, market failures, government failures, regulated self-regulation, sustainable development, governance, corporate strategies, government strategies
Governance of sustainable development: co-evolution of corporate and political strategies
This article proposes a policy framework for analysing corporate governance toward sustainable development. The aim is to set up a framework for analysing market evolution toward sustainability. In the first section, the paper briefly refers to recent theories about both market and government failures that express scepticism about the way that framework conditions for market actors are set. For this reason, multi-layered governance structures seem advantageous if new solutions are to be developed in policy areas concerned with long-term change and stepwise internalisation of externalities. The paper introduces the principle of regulated self-regulation. With regard to corporate actors' interests, it presents recent insights from theories about the knowledge-based firm, where the creation of new knowledge is based on the absorption of societal views. The result is greater scope for the endogenous internalisation of externalities, which leads to a variety of new and different corporate strategies. Because governance has to set incentives for quite a diverse set of actors in their daily operations, the paper finally discusses innovation-inducing regulation. In both areas, regulated self-regulation and innovation-inducing regulation, corporate and political governance co-evolve. The paper concludes that these co-evolutionary mechanisms may assume some of the stabilising and orientating functions previously exercised by framing activities of the state. In such a view, the government's main function is to facilitate learning processes, thus departing from the state's function as known from welfare economics.