31 May 2024


Announcing New Initiative: Corporate Responsibility | ESG

We are pleased to announce the creation of a new Initiative entitled ‘Corporate Responsibility | ESG‘, aimed at fostering a space for knowledge exchange and critical reflection on existing laws as well as the important questions around the need and design of regulation concerning corporations and their impact on society and the environment. This Initiative, part of the broader framework of bottom-up, researcher-led Initiatives within the Max Planck Law network, enables grassroots engagement and collaborative exploration amongst members of the network and beyond.

The term ESG—Environmental, Social, and Governance—has become central to discussions on modern corporate conduct. With heightened demands from consumers and investors for accountability and transparency, governments, particularly within the European Union, are responding with regulations to promote responsible and sustainable business practices.

Vincent Hoppmann , one of the Initiative’s organizers, has a particular interest in the field and notes that ‘it’s an important topic to discuss with a lot of development in Germany, the European Union, and other parts of the world.’ Co-organizer Saparya Sood adds, ‘I noticed a gap in the Max Planck law Initiatives. There’s a lot of discourse on responsible business conduct, and having a corporate law background, I think there’s a need for activities focused on this area.’

The Initiative intends to address key issues such as the European agenda for decarbonization, supply chain management, and the transition to a circular economy. Saparya elaborates, ‘the world today is shifting accountability from governments to corporations. We’re moving towards a highly regulated era in private transactions, where the purpose of corporations is transitioning from profit-seeking to being people-oriented and value-driven.’

In its initial phase, the Initiative will focus on knowledge-driven sessions, featuring presentations and discussions on current EU legislations impacting corporations. ‘Our initial sessions are aimed at making them knowledge-based by inviting speakers and adapting the format for different presentations,’ Saparya explains.

Designed to engage both academic and non-academic audiences, the Initiative seeks to fill a significant demand for discursive engagement on corporate responsibility. ‘There is a big demand for this in the academic community, and even people in corporations are closely following policy developments and academic debates,’ says Saparya. She continues, ‘there is something in it for everybody. Whether discussing AI, human rights, or corporate governance, all these areas intersect with ESG, making it a broad and inclusive topic.’

See the Corporate Responsibility | ESG webpage here.

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