To pursue or not to pursue Corporate Social Responsibility Goals - legal risks and liabilities



Event Date: 

10/6/16 to 10/7/16

Location name: 

Copenhagen, Denmark


The Center for Enterprise Liability (CEVIA), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, INTRAlaw, Department of Law, Aarhus University, the SMART project, University of Oslo

The Center for Enterprise Liability (CEVIA), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, INTRAlaw, Department of Law, Aarhus University, the SMART project, University of Oslo, welcome proposals for papers/presentations at the International Conference on CSR and Enterprise Liability, which will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 6th and 7th October, 2016.

The conference is open to all legal scholars with a research interest in this area. The conference will include papers presented by invited participants as well as papers selected in the course of this call for papers. Confirmed speakers include Professor Susan Rose-Ackermann, Yale Law School, Professor Fabrizio Cafaggi, EUI as well as Professor Beate Sjåfell, University of Oslo.

Conference background and overarching questions

The conference concerns the overall question of rights and duties for the corporations and other legal entities to pursue CSR goals.

The first part of the conference concerns the possible duties of a corporation or other actor to pursue CSR goals. The area of international public law is overflowing with soft law presuming companies’ responsibility to follow CSR but with no enforcement mechanisms. This part of the conference explores the extent to which private law can be used as a tool for enforcing such duties and poses the question to what extent private law can create a basis for imposing liability if a company does not live up to CSR requirements.

The second part of the conference focuses on the flipside of the coin, i.e. the right to pursue CSR goals. Under CSR soft law, companies and other legal entities may have the responsibility to respect and protect human rights and other sustainability areas. But do they have the right? Soft law can hit the wall of hard law that can effectively disable companies and other actors from pursuing CSR goals. This part of the conference poses the question whether the pursuance of CSR goals in some circumstances may lead to liability or other compensatory sanctions both at national and international law level.

As will be apparent, the two parts of the conference are very closely linked to each other. Together they pose the question whether the CSR movement may put companies or other actors in a “catch 22 “ situation by exposing them to risk of incurring liability both for the pursuance and for the non-pursuance of CSR goals. 

Submission of proposals

Proposals for papers/presentations should deal with specific questions related to the overall theme of the conference. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to present work at one of these five sessions:

1)      Duties to pursue CSR goals and tort law as a tool;

2)      Duties to pursue CSR goals and contract law as a tool;

3)      Other private law mechanisms as tools for the enforcement of CSR goals;

4)      Duties not to pursue CSR goals? – Private law perspectives;

5)      Duties not to pursue CSR goals? – International law perspectives;

6)       Regulatory instrumentality, compliance and voluntary self-regulation: How and why can                  company law and corporate self-regulation promote CSR as pro-active or re-active                          regulation?

Proposals should be submitted by August, 1, 2016 to: Vibe Ulfbeck ( and include: an abstract (500 words, approx.) with a title, the author(s)’s name(s) and affiliation(s), a biographical note and contact information.

Authors will be informed of the final decision by September 1, 2016. The choice of proposals will seek to ensure a balanced representation of the various aspects of the conference themes.


There is no registration fee for the conference, and meals, coffee and refreshments will be covered for all participants. Also, presenters and discussants will be invited to join the conference dinner on the 6th of October.

Travel costs and accommodation in Copenhagen could be covered for selected authors, upon request and funds availability. Please indicate it when submitting your paper proposal.

The conference is funded by CEVIA (Center for Enterprise Liability) and INTRAlaw.