The Project

Doing Business has been a (if not the) core concern for the post-WWII world order, leading up to contemporary economic globalisation and the ‘free’ movement of goods, capital and ideas across the globe. With this new research project, we aim to shift the focus towards Doing Business Right. Thanks to the financial crisis in 2008, there is growing awareness of the fact that simply Doing Business can lead to extremely adverse social and economic consequences. The trust in Doing Business as a cure-all to modernise, democratise, or civilise the world is fading. Moreover, the damaging externalities prompted by the operation of transnational economic activity are more and more visible. It has become harder, nowadays, to ignore the environmental and social consequences triggered elsewhere by our consumption patterns or by our reliance on certain energy industries. What does Doing Business Right mean? How does the law respond to the urge to do business right? What are the legal mechanisms used, or that could be used, to ensure that business is done in the right way? Can transnational business activity even be subjected to the law in a globalised world?

This research project aims to tackle these (and many other) questions. To do so, we will rely on concrete case studies (such as mega-sporting events, supply chains in specific sectors, sustainable finance etc.), but we will also necessarily touch upon theoretical considerations and debates. In terms of output we aim to be active on three fronts, which are complementary:

  1. Academic: Doing Business Right is first and foremost an academic project. Its ambition is to contribute to the growing literature and research community on the regulation of transnational business. In this regard, our focus will be primarily on the legal discourse and debates, while being open to input and dialogue with other disciplines. We will regularly publish academic contributions in relevant journals and edited volumes. Moreover, in the framework of the project we plan to develop a series of Doing Business Right lectures as well as academic conferences. 
  2. Expertise: The blog and our daily Twitter coverage are also targeted towards practitioners and policy-makers, thus we hope to inform the decisions of those who are shaping on a daily basis the Right in Doing Business. Additionally, we will aim at producing policy briefs on burning issues related to the project, as well as organize roundtables designed to trigger discussions between key stakeholders and challenge the status quo.
  3. Information: Finally, we will also appeal to the general public. At first, we will do so through our Twitter feed, providing a curated flow of information on transnational businesses, their wrongs and the existing legal actions to remedy them. Later on, we will also come forward with new formats and media, to enhance the accessibility of our work and to make sure that we contribute to broader public debates taking place in the (trans)national public spheres. 

We hope you will follow us throughout our journey and encourage you to contact us if you wish to contribute (in whatever way) to it!

Advancing Public Interests in International and European Law at T.M.C. Asser Instituut
The Doing Business Right Blog is the first project of the research strand ´Advancing Public Interests Advancing Public Interests in International and European Law’. This strand is part of the strategic research agenda of the Interuniversity T.M.C. Asser Instituut based in The Hague: ‘International & European Law as a source of trust in a hyper-connected world’. With this research agenda, the Institute carries out research on developments in international and European law and its potential for serving the cultivation of trust and respect in the global, regional, national and local societies in which the law operates.  The research strand ´Advancing Public Interests´ aims to critically examine how International and European law may further the protection of public interests in a globalising (and privatising) world.