The Sustainable Companies Project (completed)
The aim of the Sustainable Companies Project has been to find out how to integrate environmental concerns better into the decision-making in companies. Our goal is through that to contribute to sustainable development.
The project is a part of the research group Companies, Markets, Society and the Environment.
The Project's focus is on mitigation of climate change as a specific case. Our vision is to contribute specifically and concretely to the tools available to realise the significant potential within companies to make independent, creative and active contribution to mitigate climate change. Climate change provides a powerful example to illustrate broader challenges in promoting corporate environmental responsibility through company law reform. In other words, if it is possible to induce a company to act more responsibly on climate change issues, then presumably it would extend its heightened environmental awareness and commitment to other environmental issues. Focusing on climate change can provide a catalyst for wider corporate engagement with the environment and also have a positive rub-off effect as regards the social dimension of sustainable development.
Taking companies’ substantial contributions to climate change as a given fact, companies have to be addressed more effectively when designing strategies to mitigate climate change. A fundamental assumption is that traditional external regulation of companies, e.g. through environmental law, is not sufficient. Our hypothesis, confirmed through research, is that environmental sustainability in the operation of companies cannot be effectively achieved unless the objective is properly integrated into company law and thereby into the internal workings of the company.
Project period and financing
The kick-off workshop for the project was held in January 2010. The Norwegian Research Council has provided vital financing for the project, including the financing of two postdoctoral research fellowships and several student fellows. The Project as financed by the Norwegian Research Council was concluded by the end of 2013. The Project continues in 2014 with various follow-up events, including presentation of reform proposals and completion of publications.