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The chapter considers whether company law and corporate governance-related initiatives provide effective mechanisms for holding corporations to account for their contribution to climate change. A key regulatory device targeted at corporations is disclosure, the goal of which, in this context, is to achieve greater transparency regarding the risks and opportunities connected to climate change. The chapter explores to what extent climate change-related reporting contributes to the efforts towards reducing global warming. It is argued that there are a number of significant problems with climate-related reporting in its current state, in so far as there are many different requirements, including standards, codes, guidelines, at industry or sector level as well as at national and international levels; all these combined create a chaotic reporting landscape. Moreover, there is no meaningful link between the disclosures required under company law and initiatives within the area of environmental protection; hence it becomes difficult to identify clearly what the key reporting information is and what the responses and possible legal consequences of any such disclosures should be. Consequently, corporations’ accountability for their contribution to climate change is open to question.

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This chapter focuses on the contemporary framing of sustainability in the context of the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this setting, we consider the potential coherence and tensions between attempts to protect ‘people’ and the ‘planet’ while promoting ‘prosperity’, ‘peace’ and ‘partnership’. We begin by examining the identities and intentions of the policy actors engaged in formulating the SDGs, as revealed preparatory documentation. We then address the scope for debate (and even conflict) regarding the content of the SDGs and their interaction. Finally, we consider the processes created for supervision of SDG implementation at the UN level by the High Level Political Forum (HLPF). SDG 16 would seem to enable inclusive dialogue with diverse participants offering alternative knowledge bases for policy development, while SDG 17 conceives of a global partnership for development. The crucial question is whether the orchestration offered by the HLPF has that participatory potential.

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This important volume steps beyond conventional legal approaches to sustainability to provide fresh insights into perhaps one of the most critical global challenges of our time. Offering analysis of sustainability at land and sea alongside trade, labour and corporate governance perspectives, this book articulates important debates about the role of law. From impacts on local societies to domestic sustainable development policies and major international goals, it considers multiple jurisdictional levels. With original, interdisciplinary research from experts in their legal fields, this is a rounded assessment of the complex interplay of law and sustainability—both as it is now and as it should be in the future.

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Author: Clair Gammage

The 2030 Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), present a timely opportunity to revisit the debate on how agricultural trade governance should operate at the multilateral level. This chapter explores the relationship between food security, the international legal rules governing agricultural markets, and sustainable development. With a focus on food security as a trade concern, this chapter will argue that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has a fundamental role to play in (re)shaping sustainable agricultural governance for food security. Rules governing international agricultural trade will be interrogated using SDG 2 and the concept of sustainable development as a prism to highlight the ideational divide between food security and international trade rules on agriculture. This chapter proposes that these conflicting ideational systems can be reconciled, in part, through the implementation of SDG 17. To conclude, this chapter asserts that a level playing field in international trade must be created through the elimination of distorting trade measures in a manner that recognises the social, environmental and cultural dimensions of food security.

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Sustainability has dominated the policy discourse for at least five decades, with its most popular articulation to be found in the Brundtland report in 1987 (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Today, Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN, 2015) have renewed concern with legal perspectives on sustainability, for, at the European and domestic levels, sustainability and sustainable development are prominent in policy, and also in legally binding instruments. Examples include Article 3 of the Treaty on EU, which makes sustainable development a goal for the Union, and the environmental integration principle in Article 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

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Author: Chris Willmore

This chapter explores the mismatch between the structures of land law and the demands of the SDGs. It explores ways in which property law, through the adoption of a relational approach can help contribute to a more sustainable future in a pluriversal model, in which multiple responses and complexity are welcomed. It expresses concerns about the use of regulation to achieve these aims because of the rest of elite prioritisation.

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This important volume steps beyond conventional legal approaches to sustainability to provide fresh insights into perhaps one of the most critical global challenges of our time.

Offering analysis of sustainability at land and sea alongside trade, labour and corporate governance perspectives, this book articulates important debates about the role of law. From impacts on local societies to domestic sustainable development policies and major international goals, it considers multiple jurisdictional levels.

With original, interdisciplinary research from experts in their legal fields, this is a rounded assessment of the complex interplay of law and sustainability—both as it is now and as it should be in the future.

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This important volume steps beyond conventional legal approaches to sustainability to provide fresh insights into perhaps one of the most critical global challenges of our time. Offering analysis of sustainability at land and sea alongside trade, labour and corporate governance perspectives, this book articulates important debates about the role of law. From impacts on local societies to domestic sustainable development policies and major international goals, it considers multiple jurisdictional levels. With original, interdisciplinary research from experts in their legal fields, this is a rounded assessment of the complex interplay of law and sustainability—both as it is now and as it should be in the future.

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Author: Tonia Novitz

This chapter investigates the connections that may be forged between sustainability, labour standards and trade. It offers a history of ‘social sustainability’ considering the opportunities presented by the SDGs. The approaches taken by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU) are compared and contrasted, considering recent developments, such as the ILO centenary reports and instruments, alongside EU commitments to enforcement of selected ILO standards. The chapter concludes by considering how the trade and policy coherence objectives set out in SDG 17 can be achieved and how the common and divergent approaches of the ILO and EU may yet evolve. It is suggested that SDG 16 could guide the processes for dialogue that are necessary to forge connections and solutions.

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This preliminary chapter traces the development of the sustainability agenda at multiple decision-making scales, also incorporating recent and upcoming political changes. In doing so, it provides a critical discussion of the historical, non-linear development of sustainability, showing the malleability of the concept, its ethical underpinning and the influence of the political realm in shaping the legal and policy articulations of sustainability. The analysis is informed by critical theory and environmental law theory. More specifically, rejecting the modernist dichotomy between the Eco and the Anthropos, we move beyond a pillar approach to sustainability and consider the scope for dissensus, a more relational analysis and a transition towards the pluriverse.

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