Regulations Related to Social Responsibility in Turkish Joint Stock Companies Law

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Işık Özer*

The tendency in the world that joint stock companies should act socially responsibly is getting stronger every day. In the last twenty years, social responsibility has become an important company strategy in many countries; the legal regulations were made on social responsibility; socially responsible investment funds were established; sustainability activities were reported, and social responsibility indexes were created. Today it is an accepted fact that the socially responsible behaviors of joint stock companies provide important benefits to the society as far as the protection of human rights; investments in the fields of health, education and culture; prevention of the exploitation of women and children labor and contribution to sustainability and protection the environment are concerned.

In Turkish law, on the other hand, it is not possible to say that such a rapid progress has been made regarding social responsibility. In the Turkish Commercial Code (TCC) numbered 6102, it is accepted that the main responsibility of the members of the board of directors and managers of joint stock companies is to increase the profit of the company towards the shareholders. However, the legislator has never considered joint stock companies independent of society; has not refused to take notice of the impact of its activities on society. This is because both in the TCC and in the Capital Markets Law numbered 6362 and in the secondary legislation, there are provisions regarding the protection of the rights of other stakeholders as well as shareholders. The Capital Markets Board and Istanbul Stock Exchange have also taken strategic steps regarding sustainability reporting with recent amendments.

In this paper, in order to show the tendency in foreign law related to social responsibility, examples of certain regulations are listed and the provisions and recent developments in Turkish joint stock company law are briefly examined.

For the full text of this blog post in Turkish, please click here.

Joint Stock Company, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Stakeholders, Corporate Governance

* Özyeğin University, Department of Commercial Law