The article explores the implications of the debate on the environmental, social, and corporate governance for Italian company law. After considering the traditional approaches to the issue of the purpose of companies, it examines how the shareholder value paradigm influenced both the Corporate Governance Code for listed companies of 1999 and the company law reform of 2003. Since 2006, however, the relevance of this paradigm started to be reassessed. In that regard, the development of the self-regulation principles on directors’ remuneration deserve special attention. At the end of this evolution, the Corporate Governance Code of 2020 finally adopted a new approach, which is focused on the "sustainable success" of the company. This paper examines whether this approach is truly innovative, or whether it rather aims at limiting the impact that the sustainability debate could have on Italian company law.
Keywords: Environmental, social, and corporate governance; ESG; Shareholder value; Code of Corporate Governance; Sustainable success; Remuneration policies.