Corporate Governance – An ethical and sustainable business model

Just as sustainability isn’t only about caring for the environment and adapting to climate change, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) isn’t only about reporting your company’s sustainability efforts in terms of contributing to biodiversity:

Another important area covered in CSRD is governance: This includes reporting requirements about governance structures, business ethics policies, anti-corruption measures, stakeholder engagement, and whistle-blower mechanisms within your company.

Obviously, this is closely connected to the social dimension of sustainability, meaning that companies need to attend to their corporate social responsibility for ensuring equality and fairness and compliance with human rights within every aspect of the company’s undertakings.

The CSRD requirements for governance in short:

  1. Corporate Governance Structures: 
    What is the composition and role of the board of directors and management bodies?
    How does the company’s business strategy include sustainability considerations?
  2. Business Ethics Policies:
    What is the company’s code of ethics or conduct?
    How do policies and procedures aim to prevent unethical behaviour?
  3. Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Measures: 
    What measures and controls are supposed to prevent corruption and bribery within the company?
    How are employees trained on the topics?
  4. Whistle-blower Mechanisms:
    What systems and processes are used for reporting unethical behaviour or misconduct?
    How are whistle-blowers protected from potential retaliation?
  5. Risk Management and Compliance:
    What are the company’s management frameworks concerning ethics and governance?
    How do these comply with relevant laws, regulations, and standards, including any violations and corrective actions taken?

Governance for Sustainability and Responsible Ownership:

During 2021, HoloHouse collaborated with Jönköping University on the course Governance for Sustainability and Responsible Ownership (GSRO) – a course designed to introduce students to governance and ownership with perspectives from business administration, law and psychology and sustainable development.

Even though, the formal reporting requirements of the CSRD on governance were not yet in place, the students still completed valuable projects on the meaning and relevance of sustainability for responsible governance. One outstanding project dealt with a case for Region Jönköpings län.


Students analysed how governance strategies can be used to assist the transition to a circular economy – in the construction industry in particular – while considering existing legislation. As a result, students suggested three actions to improve sustainable governance:

  • Introduce a task force – To understand industrial symbiosis and circular systems, to navigate influencing factors, and to ensure clear and informed decision-making tailored to local conditions and industry needs.
  • Arrange workshops – To provide a platform for education, engagement, and collaboration among stakeholders, and to introduce concepts of circularity and industry’s synergy opportunities
  • Revise procurement policies – To include sustainability requirements, to encourage partners to adopt circular practices, and to provide financial incentives for best practices within the industry