Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability


Beate Sjåfjell
Professor of Law at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Law
Christopher M. Bruner
Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law


Time to read

5 Minutes

A Call for Papers is inviting contributions to the Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability. Those tentatively selected to contribute will be invited to a Cambridge Handbook Symposium in Oslo on 12-14 March 2018, with draft chapters to be submitted to the editors beforehand. Participation at the Symposium is not a condition to contribute to the Handbook, but it is strongly encouraged. The Symposium is expected to enhance the quality of the contributions, reinforce the cohesive nature of the volume, and contribute to the timeliness of the manuscript.

The Handbook will be edited by Professor Beate Sjåfjell, University of Oslo, and Professor Christopher Bruner, Washington and Lee University. Final confirmation of contributions for the Handbook will be contingent on review of the chapters and will be decided by the editors. The aims and scope of the Handbook and the Call for Papers itself are set out below, structured according to the tentative outline of the Handbook. Further information concerning submission of abstracts is given at the end.

State-of-the-Art of Emerging Field

The aim of the Handbook is to present the state-of-the-art of the emerging field of corporate law, corporate governance and sustainability. It will provide an in-depth analysis of the key issues in this field in a comprehensive and cohesive manner. The Handbook will concentrate on regulatory approaches to corporate law, corporate governance, and sustainability. Other approaches and disciplines will be drawn upon to cast light on the legal analysis.

The organization of the Handbook reflects the quest for global sustainability, framed by reference to the grand challenge of our time – securing the social foundation for humanity across the globe while remaining within planetary boundaries. The Handbook will canvass the theories that have informed the current state of business and finance, and explore the tension between legal approaches and practical realities with developments in finance challenging our understanding of business.  Together these will form the basis for case studies across the globe on corporate law and corporate governance, leading on to a discussion of possible drivers for corporate sustainability. Corporate sustainability may be defined as when business in aggregate creates value in a manner that is environmentally sustainable in that it ensures the long-term stability and resilience of the ecosystems that support human life, socially sustainable in that it facilitates the respect and promotion of human rights and of good governance, and economically sustainable in that it satisfies the economic needs necessary for stable and resilient societies. The Handbook will conclude with a review of the state of impact of the corporation and corporate law upon these three dimensions of sustainability.

This Handbook accordingly takes a ‘strong sustainability’ approach, based on findings from natural sciences on non-negotiable planetary boundaries within which all human activity must be positioned to ensure a safe operating space for humanity. Further, the Handbook is informed by recognition of the importance of securing fundamental social needs, recognised as a global goal in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and acknowledges the economic and societal risks that pervasive inequality poses both globally and within countries.

The issues are global by nature, and the Handbook will therefore seek to present significant developments in this dynamic area across the globe to capture different perspectives and innovations that may very well occur outside of the mainstream and commercially predominant jurisdictions.

The Call for Papers

We invite contributions on relevant issues in the field of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance, and Sustainability, within the tentative outline of the Handbook.

Part I Setting the sustainability scene

Part I will introduce sustainability in the Anthropocene and aims to form the backdrop for the Handbook’s focus on corporate law and corporate governance in this context. It aims to do so by explaining why achieving global consensus on sustainability-related goals and strategies has been so difficult, and why regulation of business remains so fragmented, emphasising various fracture lines that have emerged based on differing levels of economic development, differing economic development models, and differing forms of finance capitalism and associated corporate governance structures. We envisage contributions on:

  • Sustainability in the Anthropocene
  • International law and governance in light of sustainability goals
  • Fragmented regulation of cross-border business
  • Explorations of why approaches to regulating business are so divergent

Part II Theoretical setting

Part II will aim to canvass the theories that have informed the current state of business and finance.  This includes legal, economic, and management theories. Contributions may include:

  • Historical trajectory of theories of the corporation
  • Explaining the dominance of law-and-economics inspired Anglo-American corporate governance theories (and where it has had less sway)
  • Surveying alternative theories to understanding the corporation

Part III Legal setting and current business framework

Part III aims to reflect the legal and current business framework for corporations today, drawing out the tension between legal approaches and practical realities with developments in finance challenging our understanding of business. This Part will address commonalities of the corporation as a legal entity and its common characteristics across jurisdictions, while simultaneously speaking to substantial divergences and contextual idiosyncrasies for the reasons noted above in Part II. Topics may include:

  • The corporation as a legal entity: commonalities and divergences across jurisdictions
  • Value defining and value delimiting roles of accounting and assurance
  • Financial markets, heterogeneous investors and intermediated capitalism
  • The new world of finance: financial technology and financial engineering
  • Multinational corporate groups and associated sustainability challenges

Part IV Case Studies on Corporate Law and Governance

Part IV represents the heart of the Handbook, with a set of case studies providing in-depth analyses of corporate law and corporate governance in practice in specific jurisdictions and regions. The aim of this Part is to provide a representative and in-depth analysis of corporate law and governance in the sustainability context across the globe, giving readers a clear understanding of the varieties of corporate regulatory approaches taken around the world today.

We welcome contributions on any jurisdiction or region of the world, whether comparative or focused on a single jurisdiction. Each contribution should analyse, in the selected jurisdiction or comparative set of jurisdictions, corporate law and corporate governance in practice as they respond to and impact sustainability issues. A broad understanding of corporate law and governance should be employed, including the influence of financial markets and of regulatory initiatives such as reporting requirements, and challenges to effective enforcement (such as public corruption).

The case studies selected will reflect a dual approach. First, we aim to secure a geopolitically representative set of studies from around the world, covering the spectrum from developed to developing countries. Second, we aim for studies of jurisdictions and comparative analyses that examine corporate law and governance in practice through the lens of the legal-historical trajectories of the corporation outlined above in Part II.

Part V Possible drivers for change

For Part V we welcome critical analyses of possible drivers for change. We invite contributions on topical and emerging issues, including:

  • Competing norms in a changing legal and ethical landscape
  • New (understanding of) corporate risks and liabilities as drivers
  • Significance of civil society and the critical press
  • Sustainability investing: potential and limitations
  • Sustainability reporting: management systems and certification schemes
  • Alternative business forms and their potential impact on the (dominance of the) corporation
  • The role of labour as agent for change
  • Gender as an agent for change (separate or with other diversity issues)
  • Law and politics: reforming corporate law and corporate governance

Part VI Corporations and sustainability

These chapters will return to the starting point from Part I and present analyses of corporations’ impact on the three main dimensions of sustainability in light of the contributions in the Handbook. Contributors to this Part will therefore be expected to engage with the Handbook as a whole. Contributions are welcome on:

  • Corporations and planetary boundaries
  • Corporations and the social foundations for humanity
  • Corporations and economic and financial sustainability

Practical information about the Call

Invitations to the Symposium and the tentative selection of contributors to the Handbook will be decided based on abstracts submitted in line with this call. Participation at the Symposium, as well as inclusion in the Handbook, will require timely submission of draft chapters and commitment to a schedule for the completion of the manuscript over the months following the Symposium.

Abstracts, of maximum 500 words, may be submitted via this online form. Key dates:

  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 20 September 2017
  • Invitations to contribute to the Handbook and to participate at the Symposium: by 20 October 2017
  • Deadline for submission of draft chapters: 20 January 2018

Subject to later confirmation, there will be limited funding available to support travel and accommodation for participants to attend the Symposium. Contributors wishing to attend the Symposium are asked to state whether their participation is contingent on travel and accommodation funding.

For more information about the Call, please contact the authors of this post.

Beate Sjåfjell ( is Professor Dr Juris at the University of Oslo’s Faculty of Law and Christopher Bruner ( is the William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law at the Washington and Lee University.


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