Call for Abstracts: Conference on Sustainability and Corporate Accountability

The conference seeks to bring together researchers working at the nexus of corporate accountability and the transition to sustainability.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 10 January 2022

Sustainability is the overarching challenge of our time, one that requires legal regulation adapted to complex and interrelated economic, social and environmental issues. Climate and human rights litigation is focusing attention on the role of corporate accountability in the drive for sustainability. What are the implications of the international trend of environmental and human rights litigation against corporations? Are such cases relevant in the wider drive for sustainability regulation? Are they opening up new avenues for corporate accountability? Or is corporate impunity worsening?

The Conference on Sustainability and Corporate Accountability seeks to bring together researchers working at the nexus of corporate accountability and the transition to sustainability. We seek contributions from leading scholars from law and related disciplines concerned with legal-institutional (regulatory) forms of accountability for business entities, notably tort/civil actions, criminal prosecutions, and administrative litigation. We welcome contributions focused on judicial remedies, while submissions concerned with non-judicial mechanisms are also welcome. We particularly encourage submissions from scholars writing from or about jurisdictions in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as from those concerned with marginalised communities

Defining Sustainability and Accountability

We define sustainability as meeting the needs of social and economic progress for humanity while staying within planetary boundaries of our biosphere. Planetary boundaries and the social foundations of human welfare together shape a safe and just space for humanity.

Humanity’s present systems of production and consumption are dominated by market actors that operate with apparent immunity for their impacts on people and the planet. Those impacts contribute to breaching our planet’s boundaries and the social foundations of human welfare and in this way undermine the realisation of a safe and just space for humanity.

While attempts to hold corporations to account occur primarily within national borders, ensuring corporate accountability across borders is especially challenging for legislators and affected parties. Corporate actors are able to structure their business across national borders in ways which poses pervasive challenges to the ability of national legislators to regulate and enforce corporate activities. Investigating the state of the art of corporate accountability and identifying new research questions in this fragmented and under regulated area is therefore crucial.


Submissions should focus litigation or other forms of remedy involving business actors, both individuals and legal persons. Submissions may include a focus on themes arising in specific areas of substantive law (e.g. labour rights, climate), issues related to technical legal questions (e.g. modes of corporate liability), or analyses of evidence of wider trends in attempts to hold such actors to account for impacts on people or the planet. Topics may include, for example:

  • Climate Litigation
  • Litigation defending planetary boundaries
  • Trends in Environmental Litigation
  • Ecocide 
  • Trends in Human Rights Litigation
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
  • Remedies for Workers and Farmers    
  • Forced Labour and Trafficking
  • Migrants rights
  • Atrocity Crimes
  • Trends in Strategic Litigation
  • Developments in Foreign Direct Liabilities
  • Emerging Issues in Jurisdiction
  • Modes of Corporate Liability

Submission Process

Interested scholars are invited to submit their abstract of maximum 500 words by 10 January 2022.  Abstracts should be submitted through this online form.  

Selected scholars will be contacted by 18 January 2021.

Selected scholars will be invited to present short version of the paper (maximum length 2500 words) at the conference on 27–28 April 2022. Participant scholars will also be asked to comment on specific papers during the conference. The conference will be held via a digital platform in order to promote inclusion of scholars from around the world and limit greenhouse gas emissions from air travel.

Publication of selected papers is envisaged in the form of an edited volume with a high-level academic publisher. Please indicate in the comments field when you submit your abstract whether you are interested in having your paper considered for publication, or whether it is already published or planned published elsewhere.

The indicative deadline for submission of full-length chapters is 30 July 2022.


Research Group Companies, Markets and Sustainability, by Beate Sjåfjell, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo and Mark B. Taylor, Researcher, Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Studies, Oslo.

Published Sep. 29, 2021 9:33 AM - Last modified Jan. 5, 2022 12:37 PM