Sustainability and Accountability
We understand 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.
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.
Attempts to hold corporations to account occur primarily within national borders. Yet, ensuing 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 pose pervasive challenges to the ability of national legislators to regulate corporate impacts on people and the planet. Investigating the state of the art of corporate accountability and identifying new research questions in this fragmented and under regulated area is therefore an important part of understanding the role of law in regulating 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 will bring together researchers working at the nexus of corporate accountability and the transition to sustainability. Our speakers include leading scholars from law and related disciplines from around the world, concerned with legal-institutional (regulatory) forms of accountability for business entities, notably tort/civil actions, criminal prosecutions, and administrative litigation.
Programme to be announced. The conference is open to all, including scholars, policy-makers and practitioners. There is no registration fee.
If you have any questions, please contact our administration.
Research Group Sustainability Law, by Beate Sjåfjell, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo and Carol Liao, Associate Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.