Corporations’ Role in the Environmental Crisis: Problem or Solution?

Our 2014 Conference addressed the role and impact of corporations in the age of anthropogenic climate change, and discussed how some corporate behaviours may need to be governed or prevented, whilst others may be encouraged.

Conference Summary

The first morning session opened with a panel discussion on the general anatomy of a corporation: its people, its drive for profit, its uses of power and the frequent consequences of its activities, pollution. Mr. Tim Edwards, of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, discussed the Bhopal Tragedy as a case study, followed by Ms. Elpeth Owens, a lawyer at ClientEarth, who talked about litigation as a tool and Dr. Carrie Bradshaw, of the University of York Law School, who asked whether CSR is an effective solution.

After a tea break, we heard from Ms. Ilze Smit, Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace “Toxics” campaign, and Dr. Nilupul Somathilaka, of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research, on how corporations can mismanage waste and cause serious damage to the environment and surrounding communities.

We then heard from our keynote speaker, His Excellency Judge C. G. Weeramantry, former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice and founder of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research.

Professor Sharon Turner, Climate and Energy Programme Leader at ClientEarth and Visiting Professor at University College London and University of Sussex, then spoke on the role of a dedicated legal NGO in environmental protection.

Following a break for lunch, Dr. David Collins, City University London, discussed the impact of international trade on the environment. A panel discussion followed, where Professor Richard Macrory QC, University College London, Mr. Sailesh Mehta, Red Lion Chambers, and Ms. Shruti Suresh, Environmental Investigations Agency, considered the challenges of investigating and prosecuting corporations, and establishing effective enforcement mechanisms.

After a brief recess for some tea and coffee, we heard from Ms. Elisabeth Waigmann, Head of GMO Unit at the European Food Safety Authority, on the risk assessment of GMOs. Dr. John Broderick, of the University of Manchester Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, then spoke on the concepts of science and equity and implications for emissions trading.

To end the day there was opportunity for further discussion at a wine and canapés reception for speakers and attendees.

Our Thanks

We wish to thank the speakers who gave up their time to make the 2014 Conference such a success.

We should also like to thank the following organisations who offered financial assistance:

Friends of the Earth 
Hausfeld & Co LLP
Green Dragons
City University London
The London School of Economics
UCL Centre for Law and Environment
With special thanks to ShockLogic

Our Committee

The 2014 Conference was organised and run by the following individuals:

Kiu Jia Yaw Chair
Alexandra Gordin Chair and Treasurer
Zhe Zhou Graphics and Technology Officer
Josceline Cluff Secretary
Katie de Kauwe Speaker Co-ordinator
Ugo Taddei Speaker Co-ordinator & Sustainability
Emma Lui Sustainability
Moritz Koenig Media and Communications
Harry Stevens Fundraising
Mei Yan Marketing Officer
Zoe Rowe Graphic Designer
Ted Okoroji Senior Advisor

Our special thanks also go to: Aiden Macdonald, Afua Yeboa-Henaku, Cara Perry, Kathryn Wells, Jason Clarke, Darshini Subramaniam, Philippe Cullet & Maria Xypaki.

If you are interested in learning more about the 2014 Conference, then please visit our ‘Contact Us’ page and get in touch as we may be able to provide you with more information.