Special Issue "Corporate Sustainability Reforms: Securing Market Actors’ Contribution to Global Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (3 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Beate Sjåfjell
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Private Law, The Faculty of Law, Universitetet i Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Interests: corporate law, corporate governance, sustainability, duties of the board, planetary boundaries, social foundation, EU law, law and economics
Dr. Maja van der Velden
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Informatics, The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Universitetet i Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Interests: critical systems thinking; repair; sustainable product lifecycles; sustainable digitalisation; transition design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the conference ‘Corporate Sustainability Reforms: Securing Market Actors’ Contribution to Global Sustainability’ in Oslo on 24 October 2019, where we will discuss how to facilitate the transition to sustainability, with the aim of identifying concrete proposals. Subject to peer-review, accepted papers will be included in a Special Issue of the open-access journal Sustainability.

To achieve sustainability, it is crucial to secure the contribution of all market actors: Business, citizens, investors, and the public sector. We define sustainability as securing the social foundation for people everywhere, both now and in the future, while staying within planetary boundaries (Leach, Raworth and Rockström).

A number of barriers, gaps, and incoherencies prevent market actors from contributing to sustainability (see the SMART report Obstacles to Global Sustainable Business (2018) concerning obstacles to corporate sustainability). Current initiatives are insufficient in the face of the short-term pressure for maximization 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). Together with silo-thinking and path-dependent, outdated economic models, this is keeping us on a track towards an unsustainable future.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 invite contributions from any relevant discipline, as well as transdisciplinary proposals. We welcome 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.

Important deadlines:

  • Deadline for Abstracts: 20 June 2019
  • Papers will be selected for presentation at the conference in Oslo based on the submission in response to the call for papers. Subject to peer-review, these papers will be included in the special issue.
  • Deadline for Submissions: 3 October 2019 (by invitation and selected based on submitted abstracts)

Prof. Beate Sjåfjell
Dr. Maja van der Velden
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Corporate sustainability
  • Planetary boundaries
  • Social foundation
  • Shareholder primacy
  • Global value chains
  • Sustainable business
  • Sustainable finance
  • Sustainable public procurement
  • Policy coherence for sustainable development

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The 2019 ‘Fitness Check’ of State Aid Modernisation Reform of 2012—An Opportunity to Redefine and Reintroduce Sustainability into the EU/EEA State Aid Rules? The Example of the Transport Sector
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6328; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226328 - 11 Nov 2019
Abstract
This article intends to launch a discussion on the possibilities of introducing more sustainability into the rules on granting State aid. State aid law constitutes a crucial part of the internal market regulation. In principle, granting public support to companies is prohibited in [...] Read more.
This article intends to launch a discussion on the possibilities of introducing more sustainability into the rules on granting State aid. State aid law constitutes a crucial part of the internal market regulation. In principle, granting public support to companies is prohibited in the European Union (EU) as such state intervention distorts competition. In some cases, however, aid may be allowed if it pursues a legitimate public policy objective such as research, regional development, transport or environmental protection. In 2017, the EU Member States spent EUR 116.2 billion, i.e., 0.76% of GDP, on State aid at the EU level. While aid to the environment and energy saving promotes sustainability, the question is whether other types of aid also do so. This article provides a brief explanation of the rationale behind State aid control, explains how ‘good aid’ may be approved by the European Commission or EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) before it is granted by the Member States and proposes taking a closer look at the current guidelines for granting aid in the transport sector. This sector has a serious impact on the environment and human well-being, while it is heavily subsidised by the state. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Will the EU Commission Successfully Integrate Sustainability Risks and Factors in the Investor Protection Regime? A Research Agenda
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6292; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226292 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Building a common EU framework for sustainable finance undoubtedly implies the integration of sound and sustainable processes and skills across the whole structure and governance of financial institutions. Consequently, a new financial paradigm is going to be needed, which will require the strengthening [...] Read more.
Building a common EU framework for sustainable finance undoubtedly implies the integration of sound and sustainable processes and skills across the whole structure and governance of financial institutions. Consequently, a new financial paradigm is going to be needed, which will require the strengthening of investor care and protection, so contributing to the restoration of trust in the financial sector. In particular, on 18 December 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) launched two public consultations on draft technical advice for the integration of sustainability risks and factors into the Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFID), the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), and the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive (UCITS) regimes, with the aim to clarify the so-called fiduciary duties and to increase transparency in the financial services industry. However, the success of the EU initiatives on investor protection regulation may be seriously endangered by the existence of many challenges, weaknesses, and contradictions raised by economists and stakeholders in relation to the definition of sustainability, ESG data availability and reliability, the development of an EU taxonomy, conflicts of interest, product governance, and suitability assessment. This paper starts by briefly analyzing the recent developments of the regulation of sustainable finance at the global level, then offers a more detailed view on the establishment of a common regime on sustainable finance in the EU, with particular reference to the action plan ‘Financing Sustainable Growth’. Then, it examines the recent proposals for regulation on sustainable finance, specifically considering the barriers to the integration of sustainability risks and factors in the EU investor protection regulation—with particular reference to investment services—with respect to its four main dimensions: (1) disclosure of product information, (2) conduct of business (COB) rules, (3) product governance and intervention, and (4) financial education. The paper concludes that the EU reforming proposals, though admirable, risk oversimplifying a complex issue that cannot be easily solved without considering its practical implications on each category of financial operators in the performance of different financial services. Full article
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