The Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law Corporate Governance and Sustainability is now out!

The new Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability firmly establishes sustainability-related study of corporate law and corporate governance as a field. The advance praise in twenty-two endorsements and two forewords bodes well for the volume, which is now out in print as well as online for subscribers to Cambridge Core.

Book cover

A comprehensive analysis

The Handbook transcends the fragmented literature that reflects a traditional dichotomy between corporate law and corporate governance, on the one hand, and corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investment, on the other. It moves beyond discussions concentrating on soft-law guidelines, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, integrating these into a systemic and comprehensive analysis of corporate law and corporate governance within the framework of the overarching societal goal of sustainability.

Responding to the grand challenge of our time

The Handbook responds to the grand challenge of our time: securing our social foundation, today and in the future, while remaining within our planetary boundaries. The volume takes a ‘strong’, or actual sustainability approach. This entail that real corporate sustainability must ultimately involve corporate legal and governance structures promoting practices that contribute to and, at a minimum, do not undermine society’s potential for achieving the overarching goal of sustainability. In the words of the editors in the concluding chapter: ‘The framing of our inquiry is not so much a matter of editorial discretion as it is an acknowledgement of unavoidable facts about the world, our place within it, and our impact upon it’.

Advance praise from scholars and policy-makers

With 50 chapters written by in total 60 contributors from all over the world, the volume, as expressed in the foreword by Professor Margaret M. Blair makes a ‘powerful beginning’ to meeting the grand challenge of our time. In addition to the forewords provided by Professor Blair and Professor Mervyn King, as many as 22 endorsements were submitted from other esteemed commentators. These include policy-makers from the European Commission and scholars in sustainability science and in management, as well as a long list of company law academics.

The full list of 22 endorsements

The contributions in this innovative Handbook make a definitive case that corporate law and governance are central to achieving sustainability. Providing a rigorous analysis of the central issues in sustainability and in-depth case studies from around the globe, this Handbook is a critical resource for scholars, students and practitioners of corporate law.
- Afra Afsharipour, Professor of Law & Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar, University of California, Davis School of Law

Bringing together an impressive group of global scholars, this book weaves together insights and analysis of almost every manageable corporate sustainability issue resulting in a thorough and essential guide to corporations’ ability to address sustainability challenges. A tour-de-force, this book is essential reading for scholars and corporations alike.
- Barnali Choudhury, Professor of Law, University College London

Sustainability – of corporations themselves, and of the wider society and environment to which they are inescapably linked – is reshaping managerial discourse and the practice of finance itself.  New paradigms and methods are emerging in the academic disciplines associated with the study of the corporation.  This Handbook, with 50 chapters by leading scholars from around the world, marks a seminal contribution to this reshaping of the field.
- Simon Deakin, Professor of Law, University of Cambridge   

The Handbook investigates an under-explored but critical area: the relation of corporate law and corporate governance to sustainability.  With a discussion of case studies from across the world and potential drivers for change, this Handbook will be an indispensable resource for anyone interested in exploring how corporations could contribute to a sustainable future.
- Surya Deva, Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong, School of Law

This seminal volume is academically superb and inspirational. Company law and corporate governance drive economies and cultural norms.  The accomplished Editors have gathered expert partners to explain how we must organise companies to become sustainable so that humans can live.
- Janet Dine, Professor of International Economic Development Law, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Law

This Handbook is an essential reference for anyone working on one of today’s most pressing challenges, which is the transition to a climate-neutral and sustainable economy. It is high on Europe’s political agenda. Yet nobody should underestimate the implications and scale of such a transformation. It is cross-cutting by nature and requires a transdisciplinary policy approach.
- Valdis Dombrovskis, The European Commission’s Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

It is increasingly clear that business must play a central part — even a leadership role — in addressing our global sustainability crisis. The challenges are profound, and Sjåfjell and Bruner have marshaled many of the world’s greatest experts to help identify ways to move ahead. Having this book on your desk is like having those experts on call. 
- Kent Greenfield, Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar, Boston College Law School

Global business may shape the world more than government, yet government may still have instruments to give guidance. This handbook brings all three together, condensed into the three-partite title and structure – scope (sustainability), governance of firms and political guidance (actually well beyond ‘corporate law‘ solely). This handbook gives us Hercules at labour – but rather at his seventh task than at his first.
- Stefan Grundmann, Professor of Transnational Private Law, European University Institute, Professor of Private and Business Law at Humboldt University, Berlin

Amidst an increasingly pervasive sense of uncertainty and anxiety, we are experiencing a multi-dimensional crisis of sustainability, at whose heart lies the corporation. This timely volume, bringing together distinguished authors to address the corporate aspects of sustainability, will be an essential reference point for scholars, practitioners and policy-makers. 
- Paddy Ireland, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, University of Bristol

Two leading international corporate law scholars, Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher Bruner, have done a great job in bringing together a group of scholars from all over the world to write on one of the most important issues in corporate law, namely corporate governance and sustainability. The book is to be commended for including in one place such a comprehensive range of subjects.
- Andrew Keay, Professor of Corporate and Commercial Law, University of Leeds School of Law

This is an important and comprehensive volume on a topic that is of immense importance for academics, policymakers and practitioners.  The editors have brought together the leading researchers in the field to produce a volume that provides profound insights into the intersection of corporate governance, law and sustainability.  It deserves to be widely read and referenced.
- Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, Said Business School, University of Oxford

This magisterial volume brings together a comprehensive collection of chapters treating law, legal theory, and law reform possibilities. Especially valuable is the impressive array of country-specific case studies from around the world.  Essential reading for anyone interested in the crucially important question of the impact of business activity and corporate law on sustainability.
- David Millon, J.B. Stombock Professor of Law, Emeritus, Washington & Lee University

This book is a monumental work of scholarship. In terms of substantive scope, geographic reach and diversity of insight it is quite simply staggering. Its analysis of the contemporary financial, environmental and social challenges facing global business corporations is unsurpassed in originality and rigour. This timely collection will be an essential cornerstone of every corporate governance scholar's book collection for many years to come.
- Marc T. Moore, Professor and Chair in Corporate Law, University College London

The great, even existential, question of our time is whether the DNA of the private corporation can be modified so that business is transformed from the instrument of non-sustainability to the driver of sustainable human living. The Handbook suggests pitfalls and paths toward the corporation redeeming itself - and thus us.
- Alan R. Palmiter, William T. Wilson, III, Presidential Chair for Business Law, Wake Forest University 

Humanity is at a new juncture. Deep into the Anthropocene we are now forced to consider the risk of destabilising the entire planet. What we need, and what this Handbook addresses in a comprehensive, convincing and state-of-the-art fashion, is to operationalise ‘strong sustainability’ in corporate law and governance. This book is a key contribution towards this transformation.
- Johan Rockström, Director Potsdam Institute Climate Impact Research, Professor Earth System Science, University of Potsdam

At their best, corporations have been invaluable tools for solving big societal challenges—from building early America’s roads, bridges and railways, to curing disease, to bringing electricity to the masses.  This impressive collection of scholarship explores what it will take to focus corporations on solving today’s grandest challenges: environmental, social and economic sustainability. 
- Judith Samuelson, Executive Director, The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program

This volume is a thoughtful compilation of case studies and reflective comments on corporate governance in the rapidly developing field of sustainability.  The breadth of the authors’ perspectives and jurisdictions allow the discerning reader different lenses through which to consider regulatory policy options and a range of sustainable business practices.
-Janis Sarra, UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, The University of British Columbia

An increasing number of political and business leaders are realizing the urgency of a fair transition to a sustainable economy and the depth of the challenges this poses to our ways to do and regulate business. When looking for effective answers, they will be well served by this most timely Handbook.
- Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission 

This Handbook should be required reading for policy makers, business leaders, and other stakeholder groups. The authors pose thought-provoking questions upending traditional views of sustainability and soft law norms. They propose practical, actionable, tough solutions to some seemingly intractable problems related to disclosure, due diligence, and multi-stakeholder governance.
- Marcia Narine Weldon, Lecturer in Law, University of Miami School of Law

This book, with its comprehensive coverage and impressive list of preeminent contributors is a must-read for scholars, practitioners and policy makers concerned with the impact of the corporation on society. It provides in-depth analysis of the role that corporate law and corporate governance plays in the sustainability crisis, and persuasively argues that they must therefore figure centrally in any resolution.
- Michelle Welsh, Professor, Monash Business School, Monash University

Sjåfjell and Bruner’s book is a brilliant contribution to the most pressing questions of corporate law and governance today.  It challenges the ‘trade off mentality’ that construes ecological and social issues as of corporate concern only if they pose financial risks to the firm. This book provides an extremely important basis for re-conceptualizing how we think about corporate obligations. 
- Cynthia A. Williams, Professor and Osler Chair in Business Law, Osgoode Hall Law School 

This Handbook makes a path-breaking contribution to the re-orientation of law and corporate governance to the pressing sustainability agenda of safeguarding Earth's life-support systems. Bringing together authorities from across disciplines and jurisdictions, it provides a holistic overview of sustainability perspectives, policies and practices, including regulatory and corporate responses to mounting threats to planetary ecology.
- Hugh Wilmott, Professor of Management, Cass Business School and Research Professor in Organization Studies Cardiff Business School

Published Feb. 10, 2020 11:31 AM - Last modified June 30, 2020 12:43 PM