The global framework for integrating the Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) considerations into investments: from preference to duty?

The integration of the ESG considerations into investments is a step-by-step process, which has led to stronger and deeper forms of collaboration between diverse players who are called upon to fulfil a range of roles at a number of different levels and forms: international, regional and national, formal and informal. Is there a risk of conflict and an overlap of competences among them? And how far has this step-by-step approach gone? Do investors have a duty to consider ESG issues? And what is the role of central banks?
The multiplication of global standards makes the decision-making process more complex but these standards encourage an improvement of investment institutions’ internal procedures possibly producing positive outcomes for investment.
How can we bring together these various public interests? Are they conflicting or do they all seek to improve investment performance, opening up new horizons for more sustainable development? And in case of conflicts, who is the judge?

The role of soft law in environmental protection

Soft law plays an important role in the protection and conservation of environment. In particular environmental law has developed soft law instruments like treaties, declarations, general principles like an example sustainable development goals (SDGs), and guide-lines. Indeed non-binding norms define the protection of environment, in particular after Stockholm Conference, through the creation of UNEP and the Johannesburg Declaration on sustainable development. This paper analyzes the evolution that lead soft law to acquire autonomous role in environmental protection. It started to be applied as such and without the neet of a transposition in norms of hard law. Now, instead, soft law creates norms deliberately non-binding that have legal relevance and able to create a “soft obligation”. (In Italy, an example, the numerous cases of guide-lines regarding environment and in partucular waste andling storage and transportation).

Challenging the judicial nature of international courts in international environmental law: an exploration of the relationship between judicial bodies and non-compliance procedures

This paper focuses on the methods of enforcement specific to international environmental treaties. In this area, non-compliance procedures were created to respond to the specificities of international environmental obligations, as an alternative to international courts and tribunals, putting into question the role of such courts and tribunals. Comparing non-compliance procedures with formal dispute settlement allows us to redefine the contours of international adjudication. Therefore, relationships between non-compliance procedures and international courts will be analysed. A core question is whether or not both mechanisms are “competitors” excluding each other or “guarantors” working together, and which of these cases strengthen environmental protection. In other words: how do they interact? Could potential coordination enhance environmental protection? This paper will explore different models on which their relationship can be based.

The pluralism of river rights in Aotearoa New Zealand and Colombia

In the past year there have been two discrete cases, in very different parts of the world, where rivers have been declared to be ‘legal persons’. Much academic and political attention has been given to the case of the Whanganui River in Aotearoa New Zealand, declared by legislation to be a legal person in March 2017. Less-known is the case of the Río Atrato in Colombia, recognised as a legal person by the domestic Constitutional Court in November 2016. In this paper we interrogate the key features of the legal person model adopted in each of the New Zealand and Colombian cases and explore the challenges posed by those features in the local context. We argue that, although there are obvious contextual differences, there are interesting commonalities in the recognition of rivers as legal persons across the New Zealand and Colombian models, which might herald the emergence of a (loose) transnational concept of legal rights for rivers.

Circular Economy in the Liberalization Era. Is Public Law prepared to address this new legal paradigm?

Since the birth of environmental Law, its impact on economic development has been a constant.The so-called “most relevant paradigm changes” in the EU Law and policies bring about that debate again.On one hand, the ambitious impulse of liberalization and administrative simplification, especially after the approval of the “Bolkestein Directive”; on the other, its compatibility with the Circular Economy (CE) Strategy that seeks to curb environmental collapse. CE was meant to produce a “complete systemic change … not only in technologies, but also in organization, society, financing methods and policies”.CE requires strong public planning and support.A comprehensive view of CE calls to go beyond waste and focus on design, production and consumption.The dynamics of multi-level, public-private and between companies’ collaboration, necessary for CE, can collide with elements clearly prevalent in the current legal order, such as liberalization for an internal market or Competition law.


The “Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Escazu Treaty, it is in the period of signature and ratification.
Chile was one of the most active countries in the negotiation process, which began in Santiago in 2014. However, Chile decided not to sign the treaty, arguing the following: First, the need to review in greater depth the possibility of filing claims before the International Court of Justice within the framework of the Pact of Bogotá. That is, review the dispute resolution systems of the treaty and decide if it is in the national interest to adopt those systems. Second, the convenience of reviewing whether national legislation is consistent with the rules and obligations of the treaty. Or, that the country already covers the topics of the treaty with its national legislation and, therefore, its adoption is not necessary. The paper challenges these arguments.