Corporate Sustainability Reforms: Securing Market Actors' Contribution to Global Sustainability

We need the contribution of all market actors: business, citizens, investors, and the public sector to achieve sustainability. However, a number of barriers, gaps and incoherencies that prevents market actors from contributing has been identified by the SMART Project. At this conference we will discuss how to facilitate the transition to sustainability, with the aim of identifying concrete proposals. Look forward to seeing you there!

The SMART report Obstacles to Global Sustainable Business (2018) identifies significant obstacles standing between European businesses, investors and financial institutions, public procurers and consumers, and their contribution to sustainable development.

A research-based approach to sustainability is needed to achieve policy coherence and to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SMART has identified that alongside the SDGs there are several laudable initiatives for sustainability at the international, as well as EU, level but these are currently insufficient in the face of shareholder primacy, the widespread but legally incorrect assumption that the purpose of the corporation and the core duty of the corporate board is to maximise returns to investors. The short-term pressure for maximisation of financial returns to investors, together with a general tendency to see economic growth as a main policy target (rather than a means to an end), is an impediment to sustainability. Together with silo-thinking and path-dependent, outdated economic models, this is keeping us on a track towards an unsustainable future.

Many business models are still based on overconsumption. The lack of relevant, reliable and verified information on sustainability impacts across global value chains is a hindrance to businesses and sustainability-oriented investors. It also acts as a barrier for sustainability-oriented citizens as consumers and workers and for the public sector when acting as procurer.

With this backdrop, we have invited contributions from any relevant discipline, as well as transdisciplinary proposals. We expect contributions concentrating on international questions, on aspects concerning the EU and the Member States, and proposals aimed directly at the market actors, as well as comparative contributions from other parts of the world.

The Conference is open to all interested including scholars, policy-makers, students and practitioners.



8.15-8.30 am: Registration and refreshments

8.30-8.45: Welcome

8.45-9.15: Keynote

Resistance to Regulation: Securing sustainability in product lifecycles, Mark Taylor (presenting author), Fafo/University of Oslo, and Maja van der Velden, University of Oslo

9.15-11.15: Session 1: Corporate law, corporate governance and Reporting

  • All change! Securing sustainable value within planetary boundaries, Beate Sjåfjell, University of Oslo
  • The Corporate Objective and Sustainability: Rethinking Directors’ Duties, John Quinn, Dublin City University  
  • Decoding the (Corporate Governance) Codes of EU Member States: options for seeing eye-to-eye on sustainability, Georgina Tsagas, University of Brunel Law School
  • Comprehensive approach to a relevant and reliable reporting in Europe: a dream impossible?, Jukka Mähönen, University of Oslo

11.15-11.30: Coffee/tea break

11.30 am-1 pm: Session 2: The role of the state

  • The 2019 ‘Fitness check’ of State aid Modernisation reform of 2012 - an opportunity to redefine and reintroduce sustainability into EU/EEA State aid rules? Malgorzata Agnieszka Cyndecka, University of Bergen
  • Tax evasion - a step towards securing the economic basis of our societies, Linn Anker-Sørensen, University of Oslo
  • Mandatory green public procurement as a legitimising tool for sustainable corporate law reform, Lela Mélon, University Pompeu Fabra 

1-2 pm: Lunch

2-3.45 pm: Session 3: International and comparative perspectives

  • Will the EU Commission successfully integrate sustainability risks and factors in the investor protection regime? Michele Siri and Shanshan Zhu (presenting author), both University of Genova
  • Integrating Sustainable Development Goals into the Belt and Road Initiative: Would It Be A New Model for Green and Sustainable Investment? Yin Wei, Southwest University of Political Science and Law 

  • Extractive Industries and ISA: Enforcing Home State Standards Abroad, Enrique Boone Barrera, Centre for International Governance Innovation 
  • Regulatory Role of African Stock Exchanges in Sustainability Reporting: Comparative Study of Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa’s Stock Exchanges, Ondotimi Songi, University of Dundee 

3.45-4 pm: Coffee/tea break

4-5.45 pm: Session 4: Narratives and People

  • The stories we tell - The role of narratives in reforming strategies, Karen Landmark, Agder University, and Christina Berg Johansen, Molde University College
  • Gender and climate change: an interdimensional policy framework for sustainability disclosure, Melsa Ararat (presenting author), Sabanci University, Muzaffer Eroglu, Kocaeli University, Borhan Sayedy, Sabanci University
  • The Role of Consumers in the Achievement of Corporate Sustainability through the Reduction of Unfair Commercial Practice, Borko Mihajlović, University of Kragujevac
  • Lead me by example: The theorized relationship between organizational (non)compliance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and desired employee workplace outcomes, Magda B.L. Donia (presenting author; virtual presentation), Salvador Herencia Carrasco, both University of Ottawa, Sigalit Ronen, California State University Northridge, Sara Seck, Dalhousie University and Robert McCorquodale, University of Nottingham 

5.45-6 pm: Closing of the Conference

6-7.30 pm: Drinks reception

8 pm:         Speakers dinner, Restaurant Eik





Published May 23, 2019 1:06 PM - Last modified Oct. 23, 2019 11:35 AM