A call for finance to be more ‘sustainable’ is on the rise in many countries and regions. This development occurs in response to rising societal concerns and calls for coordinated efforts among investors, companies and policy makers to reduce and mitigate climate change and enhance responsible value chains. Efforts to direct institutional and other investors towards investing in companies that act responsibly in regard to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and/or deploy their leverage to raise ESG awareness and responsible conduct with invested companies has resulted in a series of initiatives in recent years deploying hard law (binding requirements), soft law (guidance) and emphasis on the role of corporate governance. Not only does the call for sustainable finance bring about new initiatives it may also alter our understanding of established legal concepts.
The various types of regulation relating to sustainable finance are increasingly intertwined, leading to demands for analysis and awareness of the inter-linkages and substantive contents of several forms of regulation as well as their economic implications. The European Union’s Taxonomy Regulation, a binding EU law which aims at scale up investments in projects and activities in order to reach the objectives of the European Green Deal, is an example: the Regulation not only establishes a series of six climate and environmental objectives, but also establishes ‘minimum safeguards’ based on international soft law on responsible business conduct for human rights, labour, etc. Economic activities only qualify as ‘environmentally sustainable’ according to the Regulation if they are carried out in alignment with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), including the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the fundamental conventions of the ILO and the International Bill of Human Rights. This underscores the interconnectedness of hard and (international) soft law and need for studies that cut across the various legal instruments and practices applying to sub-areas of sustainable finance and responsible business conduct. The interconnectedness also affects corporate governance in multiple ways. This was underscored by an intense debate which took place 2021-2022 in the context of the EU’s Corporate Governance reform and draft Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive on whether corporate boards should be required by law to include sustainability expertise.
The issues, knowledge gaps and regulatory developments and challenges are by no means limited to Europe. Moreover, the legal and regulatory issues also involve aspects of relevance to economists and political scientists in regard to the understanding and application of legal concepts and forms of regulation.
On this backdrop, we invite abstracts (200-350 words) for the following tracks:
a. Sustainable Finance and Financial and Capital Market Law
b. Corporate Governance, ESG and investors’ practices
c. Investments and fair transitions: implications of human rights and environmental due diligence requirements on soft and hard law globally
We welcome submissions from scholars within law as well as economics, political science and other relevant fields. Please indicate the track(s) for which your abstract should be considered for (1st and 2nd priority). We welcome submissions from senior as well as junior scholars, including PhD candidates.
Extended to 1 December 2023. Please send your abstract by email to Svend Kiilerich, at email@example.com, indicating ‘Abstract for Sustainable Finance Conference) in the subject field.
Notification of acceptance is expected before end January 2024.
We are in the process of identifying special issue opportunities for final papers to be published in international journals. Information will be made available later.
Information on the conference:
Hosted by the Centre for Law, Sustainability & Justice and the Department of Law at the University of Southern Denmark, the conference will take place between mid-day 6 May and mid-day 8 May 2024 at the Odense Campus (main campus) of the University of Southern Denmark. Odense is about 1,5-2 hours by train from Copenhagen.
Professor Hanne Søndergaard Birkmose
Professor Karin Buhmann
Professor Nina Dietz Legind
Dr Niels Skovmand Rasmussen, Associate Professor
Jacqueline Tedaldi, PhD candidate.