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The Responsibilities of Carbon Major Companies: Are They (and Is the Law) Doing Enough?

  • Lisa Benjamin (a1)

Transnational carbon major companies are responsible for over 30% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions and exert tremendous influence over future global climate trajectories. Yet, they are not governed through top-down, stringent emissions limits, but are instead regulated largely by disclosure-only domestic requirements and market-based or voluntary corporate social responsibility mechanisms. Through an examination of the requirements of domestic laws such as the United Kingdom (UK) Climate Change Act 2008 and the UK Energy Act 2013, as well as the environmental and sustainability reports produced under the UK Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, this article analyzes the regulatory requirements placed on carbon majors, and the climate change pledges and emissions of five UK-based carbon majors: BP, Royal Dutch Shell, BG Group, National Grid, and Centrica. The article concludes that the efforts to curb emissions in these carbon major entities are being subverted by company law, company theory and commercial norms such as shareholder wealth maximization.

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The author would like to thank Stelios Andreadakis, Horace Yeung and Daniel Attenborough as well as the participants at ‘The Road to Paris: Multidimensional Action to Address Climate Change’, a works-in-progress workshop of the International Environmental Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab, 27–28 Oct. 2015, Minneapolis, MN (United States (US)) for their comments and, in particular, Hari Osofsky and Jacqueline Peel. The author would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers of TEL for their comments and suggestions. Any errors remain those of the author.

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1 Heede R., ‘Tracing Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide and Methane Emissions to Fossil Fuel and Cement Producers, 1854–2010’ (2014) 122(1) Climatic Change, pp. 229241 , at 234, 237–8.

2 Ibid., p. 229.

3 Ibid., p. 229.

4 288 GtCO2e were emitted by state-owned companies: ibid., p. 234.

5 Ibid., p. 234.

6 Ibid., p. 236.

7 Ibid., p. 231.

8 Ibid., p. 238.

9 Black J., ‘Critical Reflections on Regulation’ (2002) 27 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, pp. 135 , at 2.

11 Black, n. 9 above, p. 2.

12 Ibid., p. 5.

13 Heyvaert V., ‘What’s in a Name? The Covenant of Mayors as Transnational Environmental Regulation’ (2013) 22(1) Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law, pp. 7890 , at 81.

14 Ibid., p. 81.

15 Ibid., p. 83.

16 Kling R.W., ‘Building an Institutionalist Theory of Regulation’ (1988) 22(1) Journal of Economic Issues, pp. 197209 , at 202; S. Peltzman, ‘The Economic Theory of Regulation after a Decade of Deregulation’ (1989) Brookings Papers: Microeconomics, p. 13, available at:

17 See F. Lawrence & H. Davies, ‘Revealed: BP’s Close Ties with the UK Government’, The Guardian, 20 May 2015, available at:; A. Neslen, ‘UK Accused of Hypocrisy over Plans to Limit Enforcement of EU Climate Goals’, The Guardian, 6 Jan. 2015, available at:

18 See also Kling, n. 16 above, p. 197. However, Veljanovski cautions that viewing regulation as simply a reaction to market failure may be misleading, as both markets and governments can fail: C. Veljanovski, ‘Economic Approaches to Regulation’, in Baldwin R., Cave M. & Lodge M. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Regulation (Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 1736 , at 19.

19 Cheffins notes that non-economic justifications should be treated with caution: Cheffins B.R., Company Law: Theory Structure and Operation (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 126160 ; see also Reynolds L., ‘Foundations of an Institutionalist Theory of Regulation’ (1981) 15(3) Journal of Economic Issues, pp. 641656 , at 642. There is an extensive literature on judging regulation by its cost–benefit effects, which is grounded in neoclassical efficiency, on the basis of either Pareto supremacy or Kaldor-Hicks efficiency: see, e.g., Baumol W.J., ‘On Taxation and the Control of Externalities’ (1972) 62(3) The American Economic Review, pp. 307322 ; Adler M.D., ‘Beyond Efficiency and Procedure: A Welfarist Theory of Regulation’ (2000) 28(1) Florida State University Law Review, pp. 241338 .

20 Moore M.T., Corporate Governance in the Shadow of the State (Hart, 2013), p. 66; Easterbrook F.H. & Fischel D.R., ‘The Corporate Contract’ (1989) 89(1) Columbia Law Review, pp. 14161448 , at 1418; Hansmann H. & Kraakman R., ‘The End of History for Corporate Law’ (2001) 89(2) Georgetown Law Journal, pp. 439468 ; Bainbridge S.M., ‘In Defense of the Shareholder Wealth Maximization Norm: A Reply to Professor Green’ (1993) 50(4) Washington & Lee Law Review, pp. 14231447 ; Armour J., Hansmann H. & Kraakman R., ‘What is Corporate Law?’, in R. Kraakman et al. (eds), The Anatomy of Corporate Law: A Comparative and Functional Approach, 2nd edn (Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 134 .

21 Moore, ibid.; Easterbrook & Fischel, ibid.; Hansmann & Kraakman, ibid.; Bainbridge, ibid.; Armour, Hansmann & Kraakman, ibid.

22 Manne H.G., ‘The “Higher Criticism” of the Modern Corporation’ (1962) 62(3) Columbia Law Review, pp. 399432 ; Bratton W.W., Jr., ‘The New Economic Theory of the Firm: Critical Perspectives from History’ (1989) 41(6) Stanford Law Review, pp. 14711527 , at 1478; Simon H.A., ‘Theories of Decision-Making in Economics and Behavioural Science’ (1959) 49(3) The American Economic Review, pp. 253283 , at 254; Demsetz H., ‘The Structure of Ownership and the Theory of the Firm’ (1983) 26(2) Journal of Law & Economics, pp. 375390 , at 385–7; Hansmann & Kraakman, n. 20 above, p. 441; Armour, Hansmann & Kraakman, n. 20 above, p. 28.

23 Keay A., ‘Getting to Grips with Shareholder Value Theory in Corporate Law’ (2010) 39(4) Common Law World Review, pp. 358378 , at 371; L.A. Stout, ‘Share Price as a Poor Criterion for Good Corporate Law’, Cornell Law Faculty Publications, Paper 766, Dec. 2005, p. 5, available at:

24 Keay, ibid., p. 371; Allen W.T., ‘Our Schizophrenic Conception of the Business Corporation’ (1992) 14(2) Cardozo Law Review, pp. 261282 , at 271.

25 Grinyer J., Russell A. & Collison D., ‘Evidence of Managerial Short-termism in the UK’ (1998) 9(1) British Journal of Management, pp. 1322 , at 19; Cheffins B.R., ‘Corporate Law and Ownership Structure: A Darwinian Link?’ (2002) 25(2) University of New South Wales Law Journal, pp. 346378 , at 361; Millon D., ‘Shareholder Social Responsibility’ (2012) 36(2) Seattle University Law Review, pp. 911940 , at 914; Fisch J., ‘Measuring Efficiency in Corporate Law: The Role of Shareholder Primacy’ (2005) 31(3) Journal of Corporate Law, pp. 637674 , at 638.

26 Leung W.S.W., ‘The Inadequacy of Shareholder Primacy: A Proposed Corporate Regime that Recognizes Non-Shareholder Interests’ (1996) 30(4) Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems, pp. 587634 , at 606.

27 Greenfield K. & Smith D.G., ‘Debate: Saving the World with Corporate Law?’ (2007) 57(4) Emory Law Journal, pp. 947984 , at 959.

28 The Company Law Review Steering Group was tasked with the review of the Companies Act, and its reports were instrumental in the framing of the Companies Act 2006: Company Law Review Steering Group, ‘Modern Company Law for a Competitive Economy The Strategic Framework’, Consultation Document, Feb. 1999, p. 15; Worthington S., ‘Reforming Directors Duties’ (2001) 64(3) The Modern Law Review pp. 439458 , at 443, 447.

29 Keay A., ‘Tackling the Corporate Objective: An Analysis of the United Kingdom’s “Enlightened Shareholder Value Approach”’ (2007) 29(4) Sydney Law Review, pp. 577612 ; C. Villiers, ‘Directors’ Duties and the Company’s Internal Structure under the UK Companies Act 2006: Obstacles for Sustainable Development’, University of Oslo Faculty of Law and Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2010–03; Keay A., ‘Moving Towards Stakeholderism? Constituency Statutes, Enlightened Shareholder Value, and More: Much Ado About Little?’ (2011) 22(1) European Business Law Review pp. 149 ; Zhang H. & Keay A., ‘An Analysis of Enlightened Shareholder Value in Light of Ex Post Opportunism and Incomplete Law’ (2011) 8(4) European Company and Financial Law Review, pp. 445475 ; Cerioni L., ‘The Success of the Company in s172(1) of the UK Companies Act 2006: Towards an “Enlightened Director Primacy?”’ (2008) 4(1) Original Law Review, pp. 131 ; Lowry J., ‘The Duty of Loyalty of Company Directors: Bridging the Accountability Gap through Efficient Disclosure’ (2009) 68(3) The Cambridge Law Journal, pp. 607622 . The English jurisdiction is also an important part of the Anglo-American tradition of company law, and has a record of innovation and export of its company law model: Ahn B.-M., Halligan J. & Wilks S., ‘Conclusion’, in B.-M. Ahn, J. Halligan & S. Wilks (eds), Reforming Public and Corporate Governance: Management and the Market in Australia, Britain and Korea (Edward Elgar, 2002), pp. 248261 , at 256.

30 See Hutton v. West Cork Railway Company [1883] Ch Div 654; Allen v. Gold Reefs of West Africa [1900] 1 Ch 656; Sidebottom v. Kershaw Leese and Company Ltd [1920] Ch Div 154; Re Smith and Fawcett Ltd [1942] 1 Ch 304; Re Lee Behrens [1932] Ch 46; Fulham Football Club v. Cabra [1992] WL 895734 CA; Bakibinga D.J., ‘Directors’ Duty to Act Bona Fides in the Interest of the Company’ (1990) 39(2) International and Comparative Law Quarterly, pp. 451460 . The US jurisdiction relies more heavily on the business judgment rule, but it is unclear whether American jurisprudence entirely reflects the shareholder wealth maximization norm. The statement in Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. et al., 204 Mich 459, 170 N.W. 668, 3 A.L.R 43, that ‘[a] business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders’ is often touted as establishing shareholder wealth maximization as intrinsic in US law. However, academics have questioned whether this case establishes such a sound principle: see L. Stout, ‘Why We Should Stop Teaching Dodge v Ford’, UCLA Law and Economics Research Paper Series No. 07-11, and Smith D.G., ‘The Shareholder Primacy Norm’ (1997–98) 23 Journal of Corporate Law, pp. 277323 , at 315. Shlensky v. Wrigley, 237 N.E. 2d 776, established that the Wrigley company did not have to install lights to enable night baseball games, even though it would be more profitable, as the President of the Board had stated he was concerned not to negatively affect the quality of life of the surrounding neighbourhood. Revlon Inc. v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., 506 A.2d 173, is also cited as establishing that directors must pay attention to shareholders’ profitability, but this has been narrowed to the circumstances of a takeover by the case of Paramount v. Time Warner (CCH) 94, 514; affd 571 A.2d 1140 (Del. 1989). In the recent case of eBay Domestic Holdings Inc v. Craig Newmark and James Bucknester 16 A.3d 1 (2010), a Delaware court noted: ‘Having chosen a for-profit corporate form, the craigslist directors are bound by the fiduciary duties and standards that accompany that form. Those standards include acting to promote the value of the corporation for the benefit of its stockholders’; however, this decision has also been criticized: see Wishnick D.A., ‘Corporate Purposes in a Free Enterprise System: A Comment on eBay v Newmark’ (2012) 121 The Yale Law Journal, pp. 24052420 .

31 Companies Act 2006, s. 172(1).

32 Lowry, n. 29 above, p. 616; Keay, ‘Moving Towards Stakeholderism?’, n. 29 above, p. 29; Dine J., ‘Corporate Regulation, Climate Change and Company Law: Challenges and Balance in an International and Global World’ (2015) 26(1) European Business Law Review, pp. 173202 , at 186.

33 Sachdeva A.M., ‘Regulatory Competition in European Company Law’ (2010) 30(2) European Journal of Law and Economics, pp. 137170 , at 137. However, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can play a significant role in relation to both state and firm climate action and can mediate the regulatory arbitrage phenomenon: see Heyvaert, n. 13 above, p. 84.

34 The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) estimates that carbon leakage levels could reach 41% if non-European suppliers gain competitive advantage over EU suppliers: BIS, ‘Cumulative Impacts of Energy and Climate Change Policies on Carbon Leakage’, Feb. 2012, p. ivvv, available at:

35 Climate Change Act 2008, s. 1(1).

36 Ibid., s. 8. It is unclear what the impacts of ‘Brexit’ may have on UK energy and climate change targets: A. Froggatt, T. Raines & S. Tomlinson, ‘UK Unplugged? The Impacts of Brexit on Energy and Climate Policy’, Europe Programme & Energy, Environment & Resource Department, 26 May 2016, available at:

37 HM Government, ‘The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan: National Strategy for Climate and Energy’, 15 July 2009, p. 39, available at:

38 Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), ‘Emissions Performance Standard Impact Assessment’, July 2011, p. 2, available at:

39 Committee on Climate Change, ‘Meeting Carbon Budgets: The Need for a Step Change’, Progress Report to Parliament, 12 Oct. 2009, p. 112, available at:

40 DEFRA, ‘Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Guidance’, June 2013, pp. 15 and 23, available at:, although guidance has been issued.

41 DEFRA, ‘The Contribution that Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Makes to the UK Meeting its Climate Change Objectives: A Review of the Current Evidence’, Nov. 2010, p. 7, available at:

42 Ibid., para. 49.

43 The EPS effectively prevents the build of new coal-fired power plants without CCS technology: DECC, ‘Ninth Statement of New Regulation: January–June 2015’, Dec. 2014, p. 5, available at:

44 Clifford Chance Briefing Note, ‘Energy Act Passed and EMR Delivery Plan Finalised’, Dec. 2013; DECC, n. 38 above, pp. 9–10.

45 HM Government, ‘Implementing the Climate Change Act 2008: The Government’s Proposal for Setting the Fourth Carbon Budget’, Policy Statement, May 2011, p. 15, available at:; HM Government, ‘Government Response to the Fifth Annual Progress Report for the Committee on Climate Change: Meeting the Carbon Budgets – 2013 Progress Report to Parliament’, Oct. 2013, p. 6, available at:

46 DECC, n. 38 above, p. 32.

47 D. Newbery, ‘Reforming UK Energy Policy to Live Within its Means’, Energy Policy Research Group Working Paper 1516, 3 Sept. 2015, p. 6, available at: This may also partly arise from the fact that benefits from lower carbon emissions are global in nature, therefore diffuse and difficult to quantify. Increased costs of renewable energy are, however, clearly national in effect.

48 This will be long term and is due to happen in 2025, but some closures are already taking place as a result of lower international coal prices: R. Mason, ‘UK to Close All Coal Power Plants in Switch to Gas and Nuclear’, The Guardian, 18 Nov. 2015, available at:

49 C.A. Backman, A. Verbeke & R.A. Schulz, ‘The Drivers of Corporate Climate Change Strategies and Public Policy: A New Resource-Based View Perspective’, Business & Society, published online before print 8 Apr. 2015, doi: 10.1177/0007650315578450, pp. 1–31, at 20, available at:

50 Heede, n. 1 above, pp. 237–8.

51 C. Mitchell & B. Woodman, ‘Regulation and Sustainable Energy Systems’, in Baldwin, Cave & Lodge, n. 18 above, pp. 572–88, at 582.

52 International Energy Agency (IEA), ‘Energy and Climate Change: World Energy Outlook Special Report’, 2015, p. 20, available at:

53 E.g., Shell had reports on ‘Profits versus Principles’ dating back to 1998, which looked at corporate environmental issues.

54 E.g., BG Group made available reports for the period 2006–14 only.

55 Victor D.G. & House J.C., ‘BP’s Emission Trading System’ (2006) 34(15) Energy Policy, pp. 21002112 , at 2101.

56 Tony Hayward was replaced by Robert Dudley in 2010.

57 Cherry M.A. and Sneirson J.F., ‘Beyond Profit: Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility and Greenwashing after the BP Oil Disaster’ (2011) 85(4) Tulane Law Review, pp. 9831038 , at 1009.

58 While locating climate change initiatives at a high level within the company is indicative of the success of these endeavours (see Backman, Verbeke & Schulz, n. 49 above, p. 10), simply changing a chairman may not be sufficient to combat the pressures of company law and commercial norms.

59 This parent company was registered in England in 2004 and its headquarters are based in the Netherlands. It was formed by combining the original two parent companies of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading Plc.

60 Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ‘Sustainability Report 2013’, p. 1, available at:

61 Saeverud I.A. & Skjoerseth J.B., ‘Oil Companies and Climate Change: Inconsistencies between Strategy Formulation and Implementation?’ (2007) 7(3) Global Environmental Politics, pp. 4262 , at 49.

62 Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ‘Sustainability Report 2014’, p. 25, available at: Royal Dutch Shell made a bid to acquire BG Group and the acquisition was completed in early 2016.

63 Frynas J.G., ‘Royal Dutch/Shell’ (2003) 8(2) New Political Economy, pp. 275285 , at 276–7.

64 Ibid., pp. 282–3.

65 Ibid., pp. 281–2.

66 BG Group Plc, ‘Corporate Responsibility Report 2006’, p. 1, available at:

67 BG Group Plc, ‘Sustainability Performance Report 2010’, p. 25, available at:; BG Group Plc, ‘Sustainability Report 2011’, p. 31, available at:; BG Group Plc, ‘Climate Change Public Position’, 2012, p. 1, available at:

68 The acquisition was completed on 16 Apr. 2016, but company reports will not be merged until 2017.

69 National Grid Plc, ‘2014 Sustainability Report – Connections that Matter: How We Behave as a Responsible Business’, p. 9, available at:

70 Centrica Plc, ‘CDP 2010 Investor CDP Information Request’, p. 1, available at:

71 Centrica Plc, ‘CDP 2009 Investor CDP Information Request’, p. 18, available at:

72 Ibid., p. 1; Centrica Plc, n. 70 above, p. 21.

73 Centrica Plc, n. 70 above, p. 1.

74 Ibid., pp. 1–2.

75 Centrica Plc, ‘CDP 2013 Investor CDP Information Request’, p. 1, available at: This mirrors the UK government’s approach to energy and climate change, and could mirror the triple bottom-line approach.

76 Ibid., para. 3-1c.

77 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto (Japan), 11 Dec. 1997, in force 16 Feb. 2005, available at:; Convery F.J., ‘Origins and Development of the EU ETS’ (2009) 43(3) Environmental & Resource Economics, pp. 391412 , at 392.

78 PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency, ‘Evaluation of Policy Options to Reform the EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Effects on Carbon Price, Environment and the Economy’, 2013, pp. 172 , at 8.

79 T. Gilbertson & O. Reyes, ‘Carbon Trading: How it Works and Why It Fails’, Carbon Trade Watch, Critical Currents No. 7, Nov. 2009, p. 32, available at:

80 Committee on Climate Change, n. 39 above, p. 59.

81 PBL, n. 78 above, p. 14.

82 Ibid., p. 10. While the EU has agreed to include a stability mechanism in the EU ETS in the future, it is unclear whether this will remedy the existing weaknesses of the mechanism.

83 The UK Emissions Trading Group, ‘Welcome to ETG’, available at:

84 New York, NY (US), 9 May 1992, in force 21 Mar. 1994, available at:

85 UN Climate Change Newsroom, ‘Six Oil Majors Say “We Will Act Faster with Stronger Carbon Pricing”: Open Letter to UN and Governments’, 1 June 2015, available at:

86 S. Seppanen et al., ‘Demand in a Fragmented Global Carbon Market: Outlook and Policy Options’, Mar. 2013, p. 44, available at:

87 Catton W., ‘Dynamic Carbon Caps: Splitting the Bill – A Fairer Solution Post-Kyoto?’ (2009) 37(12) Energy Policy, pp. 56365649 , at 5636.

88 Polishchuk L., ‘Corporate Social Responsibility or Government Regulation: An Analysis of Institutional Choice’ (2009) 52(8) Problems of Economic Transition, pp. 7394 , at 76.

89 Pesmatzoglou D. et al., ‘Extractive Multinationals and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Commitment Towards Achieving the Goals of Sustainable Development or Only as a Management Strategy?’ (2014) 26(2) Journal of International Development, pp. 187206 , at 189.

90 Utting P. & Marques J.C., ‘Introduction: The Intellectual Crisis of CSR’, in P. Utting & J.C. Marques (eds), Corporate Social Responsibility and Regulatory Governance Towards Inclusive Development? (UN Research Institute for Social Development, 2010), pp. 125 , at 3; Ireland P. & Pillar R.G., ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in a Neoliberal Age’, in Utting & Marques, ibid., pp. 77104 , at 84; Keay A., ‘Stakeholder Theory in Corporate Law: Has It Got What It Takes?’ (2010) 9(3) Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business, pp. 249300 , at 252.

91 Pesmatzoglou et al., n. 89 above, at 192.

92 Kagan R.A., Thornton D. & Gunningham N., ‘Explaining Corporate Environmental Performance: How Does Regulation Matter?’ (2003) 37(1) Law & Society Review, pp. 5190 , at 76.

93 Ibid., p. 77.

94 Ibid., p. 78.

95 Ibid., p. 68.

96 Royal Dutch Shell Plc., n. 62 above, p. 7.

97 Centrica Plc., n. 70 above, p. 11.

98 BP Plc, ‘Sustainability Report 2014’, p. 2, available at:

99 The Shell Report 2001, ‘People, Planet and Profits’, p. 2, available at:

100 BG Group Plc, ‘Sustainability Report 2013’, p. 5, available at:

102 Available at:

103 BG Group Plc, n. 66 above, p. 1.

104 Available at:

105 Available at:

106 ‘The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard’, available at:

107 N. 102 above.

110 Kiernan notes that SRI is based on values first and financial stability second, while sustainable investing focuses on risk and return: Kiernan M.J., ‘SRI or Not SRI’, in A.A. Calvello & P. Watchman (eds), Environmental Alpha: Institutional Investors and Climate Change (John Wiley & Sons, 2010), pp. 125144 , at 131–2.

111 Voorhes M. & Humphreys J., ‘Recent Trends in Sustainable and Responsible Investing in the United States’ (2011) 20(3) The Journal of Investing, pp. 9094 , at 91. Kiernan notes that sustainable investing differs from socially responsible investing which is only values-based, whereas sustainable investing focuses on investment risk and return: Kiernan, ibid., p. 131–2.

112 EUROSIF, ‘European SRI Study 2014’, p. 8, available at:

113 Staub-Bisang M., Sustainable Investing for Institutional Investors: Risks, Regulation and Strategies (John Wiley & Sons, 2012), p. 15 ; Sullivan R. & Gouldson A., ‘Does Voluntary Carbon Reporting Meet Investors’ Needs?’ (2010) 36 Journal of Cleaner Production, pp. 6067 , at 61.

114 Staub-Bisang, ibid., p. 143.

115 M.S. Lubber, ‘Risks and Their Impacts on Institutional Investors’, in Calvello & Watchman, n. 110 above, pp. 79–99, at 88.

116 E.g, CDP, Ceres, the Investor Network on Climate Risk, Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change, Arjuna Capital, Reap What You Sow, and Ambition A.

117 IEA, ‘World Energy Model’, available at:

118 J. Oilila & B. van Beurden, ‘2015 Royal Dutch Shell Plc: Annual General Meeting’, 19 May 2015, p. 8, available at:

119 Richardson B.J., ‘Financial Markets and Socially Responsible Investing’, in B. Sjåfjell & B.J. Richardson (eds), Company Law and Sustainability: Legal Barriers and Opportunities (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 226273 , at 226.

120 Schneider N., ‘Revisiting Divestment’ (2015) 66(2) Hastings Law Journal, pp. 589617 , at 592.

121 PBL, n. 78 above, p. 6.

122 R. Calel & A. Dechezleprêtre, ‘Environmental Policy and Directed Technological Change: Evidence from the European Carbon Market’, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper, Mar. 2012, p. 3, available at:

123 Pesmatzoglou at al., n. 89 above, p. 198.

124 Rosen-Zvi I., ‘You Are Too Soft!: What Can Corporate Social Responsibility Do for Climate Change?’ (2011) 12(2) Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, pp. 527570 , at 551.

125 BG Group Plc, n. 66 above, p. 32.

126 Royal Dutch Shell Plc, n. 60 above, p. 16.

127 Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, ‘Phase I Report of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures’, 31 Mar. 2016, available at:

128 BP Plc, ‘Sustainability Review 2013’, p. 13, available at:; BG Group Plc, ‘Climate Change Public Position’, 2012, p. 1, available at:

129 See, e.g., UK Energy Research Centre, ‘Gas Can Be a Bridge to a Low-Carbon Future’, 12 Nov. 2014, available at:

130 BP Plc, ‘BP Energy Outlook 2035’, Feb. 2015, p. 5, available at:

131 Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ‘Sustainability Report 2011’, p. 6, available at:

132 Follow This, ‘Follow This Votes Against Shell’s Acquisition of the BG Group’, 26 Jan. 2016, available at:

133 Paris (France), 13 Dec. 2015, not yet in force (in UNFCCC Secretariat, ‘Report of the Conference of the Parties on its Twenty-First Session’, Addendum, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2015/10/Add.1, 29 Jan. 2016); BP Plc., n. 98 above, p. 16; Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ‘Response to Shareholder Resolution on Climate Change’, 19 May 2015, p. 12, available at:

134 Royal Dutch Shell Plc, n. 62 above, p. 54.

135 J. Browne, ‘Addressing Global Climate Change’, 19 May 1997, p. 6, available at:; National Grid, ‘Our Contribution: A Framework for Environmental Sustainability in National Grid’, p. 4, available at:

136 Black, n. 9 above, p. 26.

137 N. 133 above; G. Cheeseman, ‘Record Number of Climate Change Shareholder Resolutions Filed This Year’, 28 Mar. 2016, available at:

138 Heyvaert, n. 13 above, p. 80.

139 Ibid., p. 80. See also Heyvaert V., ‘Governing Climate Change: Towards a New Paradigm for Risk Regulation’ (2011) 7(6) The Modern Law Review, pp. 817844 , at 843.

140 Sjåfjell B., ‘Regulating Companies as if the World Matters: Reflecting from the Ongoing Sustainable Companies Project’ (2012) 47(1) Wake Forest Law Review, pp. 113134 , at 122; Bubna-Litic K., ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Using Climate Change to Illustrate the Intersection between Corporate Law and Environmental Law’, Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Aug. 2007, pp. 139 , at 33; Dine, n. 32 above, p. 174.

141 Sjåfjell, ibid., p. 131.

142 B. Sjåfjell et al., ‘Shareholder Primacy: The Main Barrier to Sustainable Companies’, in Sjåfjell & Richardson, n. 119 above, pp. 79–147, at 147.

143 Keay A., ‘Ascertaining the Corporate Objective: An Entity Maximization and Sustainability Model’ (2008) 71(5) The Modern Law Review, pp. 663698 ; Attenborough D., ‘Giving Purpose to the Corporate Purpose Debate: An Equitable Maximization and Viability Principle’ (2011) 32(1) Legal Studies, pp. 434 .

144 Officer of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies, available at:; Community Interest Company Association, available at:; Esposito R.T., ‘The Social Enterprise Revolution in Corporate Law: A Primer on Emerging Corporate Entities in Europe and the United States and the Case for the Benefit Corporation’ (2013) 4(2) William & Mary Business Law Review, pp. 639714 .

145 See B Lab, available at:; Johnson L., ‘Pluralism in Corporate Form: Corporate Law and Benefit Corps’ (2012–13) 25(2) Regent University Law Review, pp. 269298 ; McDonald B., ‘Committing to Doing Good and Doing Well: Fiduciary Duty in Benefit Corporations’ (2014) 20(1) Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, pp. 1972 .

146 Sjåfjell et al., n. 142 above, p. 147.

147 Richardson, n. 119 above, p. 273.

The author would like to thank Stelios Andreadakis, Horace Yeung and Daniel Attenborough as well as the participants at ‘The Road to Paris: Multidimensional Action to Address Climate Change’, a works-in-progress workshop of the International Environmental Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab, 27–28 Oct. 2015, Minneapolis, MN (United States (US)) for their comments and, in particular, Hari Osofsky and Jacqueline Peel. The author would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers of TEL for their comments and suggestions. Any errors remain those of the author.

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Transnational Environmental Law
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