As global leaders assemble in Glasgow at COP26 to accelerate action towards fighting climate change, it is widely recognised that the role of business in this endeavour is central. Scientific evidence leaves little doubt that business activity has been, and in some cases continues to be, a major driver of emissions. Businesses are affected by the consequences of climate change too, with climate risks posing an increasingly material financial risk to businesses, their shareholders and other corporate stakeholders. Critically, corporations also have a central role to play in mitigating climate change by reducing, if not eliminating, their net emissions and by driving the innovation and adaptation that are necessary to bring about a net zero economy. Across all these domains, the operation of business law affects whether businesses will rise to that challenge or retard progress. Governments, regulators, corporations, shareholders and financial institutions as well as credit rating agencies have begun enacting or adopting laws, policies and practices that are designed to leverage corporate action as a tool to drive the net zero transition.
A new volume brings together leading thinkers to evaluate the contribution that business law has made, and could make, to help drive such change. Under the theme of ‘Business Law and the Transition to a Net Zero economy’, the book is the fruit of the 5th annual OBLB conference, which was held earlier this year in collaboration with the University of Oxford Faculty of Law and Oxford Sustainable Law Programme, the University of Hamburg Faculty of Law, the Freie Universität Berlin Department of Law and Empirical Legal Studies Center, the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, its EW Barker Centre for Law & Business and its Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Law, and the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI).
Most, but not all, of the book chapters emerged from contributions to the conference. The chapters are organised under four parts: Climate Change Disclosures and Net Zero Commitments, Climate Change: Exit or Voice, Climate Change in the Boardroom, and Climate Change in the Courtroom.