Special Issue: Corporate Law and Climate Change

(How) Can Corporate Law Steer Companies Towards Meeting the Paris Climate Goals?

Edited by Special Issue Editors:

Andreas Hösli, University of Zurich
Alessandro Monti, University of Copenhagen

The International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal (ICCLJ) is a journal devoted to the scholarly analysis of the law and practice relating to corporations, on an international and comparative basis.

Special Issue Topic

Combining the areas of corporate law, corporate governance and climate change is an emerging field of research. While much attention in international climate change policy and law has been devoted to the responsibility of nation states, a new focus has more recently emerged, exploring the role of corporations in the pursuit of achieving global temperature goals. This development begs a crucial question: (how) can corporate law, as a core discipline with respect to corporate decision making, serve as an enabling instrument to support the global transition to a low greenhouse gas (GHG) economy?

Traditional approaches in corporate law theory and practice have been criticized for prioritizing (short-term) financial gains for shareholders whilst ignoring social and environmental problems including climate change. Although the business sector has contributed substantially to the problem, the impacts of climate change are typically viewed as ‘externalities’ to be dealt within the public sphere. Addressing these concerns, some scholars identify potential in using corporate law as a tool to steer companies towards business practices that respect planetary boundaries. In fact, several countries around the globe as well as the European Union are currently considering options to enhance corporations’ responsibility with regard to climate change (and related issues) by way of corporate law reform (mostly relating to disclosure and, more recently, due diligence). At the same time, existing corporate law is already being relied upon in climate change litigation, creating new financial risks to corporations.

For this special issue, we are inviting innovative papers that offer novel perspectives on corporations’ legal responsibility with respect to climate change. In line with the journal’s focus, international and comparative analyses are especially welcome, but we are also open to contributions focusing on specific jurisdictions, to the extent that they are relevant to the international debate. In particular, we are interested in papers on the following topics, but we are certainly open to other proposals:

  • Purpose of the Company and Climate Change
  • Duties of the Corporate Board and Climate Change
  • Climate Change Due Diligence
  • Climate Change Reporting
  • Corporate Governance and Climate Change (e.g., board composition, remuneration, risk management)
  • Corporate GHG reduction target setting
  • The Role of Institutional Investors
  • Shareholder Activism (e.g., Say on Climate)
  • Regulatory Developments related to climate change and corporate law (e.g., the EU’s Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth)
  • Climate Change Litigation against Corporations (based on corporate law)

Submission Process

We encourage submissions from both established and early-career legal scholars and practitioners. Interested authors should provide an abstract of no more than 300 words in Word format and also provide the following information: first name/surname, affiliation, title of the proposed paper and email address of the corresponding author.

Please email your abstract to andreas.hoesli2@uzh.ch and alessandro.monti@jur.ku.dk by 30 September 2021. Candidates will be notified shortly thereafter about the editors’ decision. If the proposal is accepted, the full article must be submitted by 28 February 2022. Manuscripts should not exceed 8,000 words (including references) and follow the author guidelines of the ICCLJ. The special issue is scheduled for summer/fall 2022.


A short (and by no means exhaustive) list of existing literature that contributors could choose to draw on is provided below:

  • L. Benjamin, Companies and Climate Change. Theory and Law in the United Kingdom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • T. Lambooy and J. Stamenkova van Rumpt, ‘Can Corporate Law on Groups Assist Groups to Effectively Address Climate Change?’ (2015) 3 The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, 76
  • C. Macchi, ‘The Climate Change Dimension of Business and Human Rights: The Gradual Consolidation of a Concept of “Climate Due Diligence” ’ (2021) 6 Business and Human Rights Journal 93
  • C. Mayer, ‘Reinventing the Corporation’ (2016) 4 Journal of the British Academy, 53
  • D. Monciardini, J.T. Mähönen and G Tsagas, ‘Rethinking Non-Financial Reporting: A Blueprint for Structural Regulatory Changes’ (2020) 10 Accounting, Economics and Law: A Convivium, 14
  • B. Sjåfjell and B. J. Richardson (eds), Company Law and Sustainability: Legal Barriers and Opportunities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
  • B. Sjåfjell and C. M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019/2020)
  • J. Solana, ‘Climate Litigation in Financial Markets: A Typology’ (2020) 9(1) Transnational Environmental Law, 103
  • R. H. Weber and A. Hösli, ‘Corporate Climate Responsibility – The Rise of a New Governance Issue’ (2021) sui generis, 83 (https://doi.org/10.21257/sg.171)
  • R. H. Weber and A. Hösli, ‘Climate Change Liability: Comparing Risks for Directors in Jurisdictions of the Common and Civil Law’ (2020) 10(2) Climate Law, 151
  • Various articles previously published in the ICCLJ (see here)

Contact Persons

Andreas Hösli, andreas.hoesli2@uzh.ch
Alessandro Monti, alessandro.monti@jur.ku.dk

Published June 9, 2021 11:05 AM - Last modified Sep. 1, 2022 2:08 PM