EU Competition Law and Sustainability: The Need for an Approach Focused on the Objectives of Sustainability Agreements

Campo Comba, M., 'EU Competition Law and Sustainability: The Need for an Approach Focused on the Objectives of Sustainability Agreements' 15/3 Erasmus Law Review (2022).

10 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2023

Date Written: November 2022

Abstract

EU competition law potentially has a role to play in the pursuit of sustainability goals and the fight against climate change. The need to interpret the EU competition law provisions in a manner consistent with the sustainability objectives that the EU is committed to – the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and the EU Green Deal and derived policies – is emphasised in this article. While agreements between competitors are generally prohibited by Article 101 TFEU, cooperation agreements among market actors pursuing sustainability objectives (sustainability agreements) might in certain situations fall under the cartel exception of Article 101(3) TFEU. In recent years, there have been numerous calls to clarify conditions under which sustainability agreements can be allowed under EU competition law, especially under Article 101(3) TFEU, and there is a heated debate among academics, national competition authorities (NCAs) and the European Commission. After questioning whether the objectives and measures of the agreements are being properly assessed with the current trends (for example, with the willingness-to-pay method), this article will add to the debate another possibility involving a broad interpretation of Article 101(3) TFEU under which the pursuit of sustainability agreements will be facilitated. Such a possibility will largely depend on the objectives of the agreements themselves and may allow a proper consideration of the objectives of a sustainability agreement for certain cases, by focusing on agreements that pursue pre-established objectives derived from international or national standards or concrete policy objectives that are not previously mandatory for the companies involved.

Keywords: EU competition law, sustainability agreements, efficiency gains, sustainability objectives, qualitative assessment

Suggested Citation

Campo Comba, María, EU Competition Law and Sustainability: The Need for an Approach Focused on the Objectives of Sustainability Agreements (November 2022). Campo Comba, M., 'EU Competition Law and Sustainability: The Need for an Approach Focused on the Objectives of Sustainability Agreements' 15/3 Erasmus Law Review (2022)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4288657

María Campo Comba (Contact Author)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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