The overarching theme of the research group Sustainability Law is to conduct interdisciplinary analyses of law with the aim of identifying normative solutions that contribute to global sustainability.
Illustration: Reprosentralen, University of Oslo.
The research group Sustainability Law understands sustainability, drawing on sustainability science and research, as securing social foundations for humanity now and for the future while mitigating pressures on planetary boundaries. Sustainability includes mitigating pressures on climate and biodiversity as core planetary boundaries, and promoting human and cultural rights, peace, rule of law, social justice and good governance as social foundations.
This research-based concept of sustainability gives us an entry point to analyse and engage with laws and policies, including legislative objectives, principles and rules as well as social norms and market and technological structures. Our scope encompasses the international and European level, and the level of selected nation states, through comparative and separate in-depth legal analyses. Our research encompasses law and policy efforts towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in this important decade towards 2030, when the SDGs are meant to be achieved.
From Companies, Markets and Sustainability to Sustainability Law
Sustainability Law builds on and develops further the work undertaken in the Research Group Companies, Markets and Sustainability (the Company Law Group, 2012-2022) with its large and successful research projects funded by the Research Council of Norway and the European Union’s Framework Programme Horizon 2020: Sustainable Companies (2010-14) and SMART (2016-20). The UiO:Nordic research group Futuring Sustainable Nordic Business Models (Futuring Nordics, 2019-2023) is an integral part of Sustainability Law.
Scientific Goals and Themes of Priority (2022-2027)
The scientific goal of Sustainability Law is to develop interdisciplinary and sustainability-oriented approaches to law. To that end, interdisciplinary methodologies, approaches and theories are applied and developed further. The work draws, separately and together, on systems thinking, legal-historical, legal-economic, legal-ecological, legal-sociological and criminological perspectives as well as critical and feminist theories and perspectives. In particular, the ‘regulatory ecology’ approach, co-developed through the SMART project, is used as a lens for analysing the interactions between law and other ‘regulatory modalities’, including social norms and market pressures.
Sustainability law is an emerging field of law that aims to identify, analyse and propose normative solutions to the fundamental environmental, social and governance problems of our time. The research group Sustainability Law is accordingly not constrained by the perceived boundaries between public law and private law, or those between international law, regional and national law, or between areas of law such as company law, intellectual property law and consumer law.
The themes Sustainable business, Sustainable finance and Sustainable circular economy are broad and interdisciplinary categories, drawing on different fields of natural science, social sciences and humanities, and integrating different fields as law. In time, other themes may be included, based on contributions from the members and on developments in sustainability relevant laws, norms and policies.