To pursue or not to pursue CSR goals? – Legal risks and liabilities

The conference concerns the overall question of rights and duties for the corporations and other legal entities to pursue CSR goals.

Confirmed speakers include Professor Susan Rose-Ackermann, Yale Law School, Professor Fabrizio Cafaggi, EUI as well as Professor Beate Sjåfell, University of Oslo. Photo: Dean Hochman/flicr


The first part of the conference concerns the possible duties of a corporation or other actor to pursue CSR goals. The area of international public law is overflowing with soft law presuming companies’ responsibility to follow CSR but with no enforcement mechanisms. This part of the conference explores the extent to which private law can be used as a tool for enforcing such duties and poses the question to what extent private law can create a basis for imposing liability if a company does not live up to CSR requirements.

The second part of the conference focuses on the flipside of the coin, i.e. the right to pursue CSR goals. Under CSR soft law, companies and other legal entities may have the responsibility to respect and protect human rights and other sustainability areas. But do they have the right? Soft law can hit the wall of hard law that can effectively disable companies and other actors from pursuing CSR goals. This part of the conference poses the question whether the pursuance of CSR goals in some circumstances may lead to liability or other compensatory sanctions both at national and international law level.

As will be apparent, the two parts of the conference are very closely linked to each other. Together they pose the question whether the CSR movement may put companies or other actors in a “catch 22 “ situation by exposing them to risk of incurring liability both for the pursuance and for the non-pursuance of CSR goals. 

The Organisers

The Conference is organised in collaboration by The Center for Enterprise Liability (CEVIA), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, INTRAlaw, Department of Law, Aarhus University, Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART), Department of Private Law, University of Oslo.

Published May 15, 2017 2:36 PM - Last modified May 15, 2017 2:39 PM