Sustainable Development, EU Law and Companies: The EU Law Framework for the Sustainable Companies Project

16 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2010 Last revised: 5 Dec 2014

See all articles by Beate Sjåfjell

Beate Sjåfjell

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 21, 2010


Traditionally, the European project tends to be perceived as an economic one, with focus on the main tools - the internal market and notably the freedom of movement for goods, services, labour and capital and the freedom of establishment for companies. This in turn has lead to the overarching objectives coming into the background, with the means being confused for the goals. In that light the issue of sustainable development in an EU law perspective could be seen purely as a matter of restrictions that EU law poses for national legislators wishing to protect the environment and promote a sustainable development. Certainly national legislators have to respect the Treaty freedoms and avoid discrimination, unless that which may be substantiated in a manner that the Court of Justice of the European Union will accept. Certainly sections of EU’s secondary legislation may be criticised for not being particularly environmentally-friendly. However, this is just one part of the picture that EU law paints for us. The intention of this article is to outline the framework that EU law constitutes for the European part of our Sustainable Companies project, with focus on the position of sustainable development as an EU law objective and the principle of sustainable development as it is codified in Article 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Keywords: EU Law, sustainable development, Lisbon Treaty, Article 11 TFEU, Sustainable Companies project

Suggested Citation

Sjåfjell, Beate, Sustainable Development, EU Law and Companies: The EU Law Framework for the Sustainable Companies Project (November 21, 2010). International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 1-14, 2011, University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2010-01, First Sustainable Companies Workshop, Oslo, January 2010, Available at SSRN:

Beate Sjåfjell (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavsplass
Oslo, 0130


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