Redefining the Corporation for a Sustainable New Economy

17 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2018

See all articles by Beate Sjåfjell

Beate Sjåfjell

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law

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Date Written: March 2018


‘Business as usual’ is a very certain path towards a very uncertain future. On the ‘business as usual’ trajectory, the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), epitomizing the overarching goals of global society, is unlikely. A fundamental transition away from ‘business as usual’ and onto a sustainable path is necessary. However, the SDGs themselves do not seem informed by a recognition of a potential conflict between indefinite economic growth and planetary boundaries. This article posits that this is symptomatic of our economic system, and turns to the dominant business form – the corporation – to discuss its significance as a barrier to and potential as a driver for sustainability. Drawing on multi‐jurisdictional, comparative research, the article presents a reform proposal, challenging the shareholder‐primacy drive, and ending on a positive note with the potential of corporate contribution to systemic change.

Suggested Citation

Sjåfjell, Beate, Redefining the Corporation for a Sustainable New Economy (March 2018). Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 45, Issue 1, pp. 29-45, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Beate Sjåfjell (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavsplass
Oslo, 0130


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