[Spring academy] The European turn to sustainability due diligence: From concept to obligation

03 - 06 April 2023
  • Starts at: 10:00h
  • Fee: €1.095 (regular) / €650 (discount fee for PhD students and NGO workers)
  • Venue: Asser Institute, location Zeestraat 100, The Hague
  •   Register

Gain insight into the origins and implications of the growing movement to corporate sustainability due diligence and decode the specificities of different national due diligence obligations, how corporations are conducting due diligence processes, and how courts and other actors are assessing due diligence processes at our spring academy ‘The European turn to sustainability due diligence: From concept to obligation’ (3-6 April 2023). Register now!

The rise of corporate due diligence
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) introduced human rights due diligence as a central process in order to ensure that businesses fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights. Since the adoption of the UNGPs in 2011, the concept of due diligence has been the focus of various policy and legislative initiatives, gradually becoming an inescapable component of normative frameworks aimed at enhancing the responsibility of corporations for adverse human rights and environmental impacts linked to their activities. In recent years, a wave of mandatory due diligence legislation has swept Europe, kicked off by France’s Duty of Vigilance Law in 2017. Several European countries, including Europe’s biggest economy Germany, have now enacted their own due diligence legislation, while the European Union (EU) is in the process of adopting an overarching Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for a growing number of actors, whether companies subject to these obligations, members of civil society, or public officials, to understand the origins and implications of this due diligence turn, to grasp the specificities of different national due diligence obligations, and to gain know-how about the different ways in which corporations are conducting due diligence processes and how others (civil society organisations, national administrations or courts) are assessing due diligence processes.

Ground-breaking academy on due diligence
Since 2019, the Asser Institute offers a ground-breaking week-long academy on due diligence as master key to responsible business conduct, consisting of lectures by academics with recognised expertise in the field and practical sessions delivered by practitioners from the private and public sector with hands-on experience in doing due diligence. This year’s edition will retrace the genealogy of the concept and investigate its theoretical underpinnings before diving into concrete examples of mandatory due diligence legislations and their implementation. In particular, we will concentrate on existing national laws with a focus on the French and German context. We will conclude the week with a full day dedicated to the spreading of due diligence obligations through EU law, discussing both the Proposal for a Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and the existing due diligence obligations imposed by the EU Conflict Minerals and Timber Regulations.

Download the full programme

Key topics

  •        Business and human rights
  •        U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  •        Human rights due diligence
  •        OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct
  •        French Duty of Vigilance Law
  •        German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act
  •        Proposal for an EU Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence

Confirmed speakers

  •        Antoine Duval (Asser Institute)
  •        Virginie Rouas (Asser Institute)
  •        Dr Caroline Omari Lichuma (University of Luxembourg)
  •        Charlotte Michon (Entreprises et les droits de l’homme)
  •        Joanne Houston (Advisor, Sustainability Reporting)
  •        Roula Mamlouk (Sherpa)
  •        Brice Laniyan (Notre Affaire à Tous)
  •        Dr Klaas Eller (University of Amsterdam)
  •        Michael Rice & Kaja Blumtritt (ClientEarth)
  •        Naing Htoo (EarthRights International)

Target audience
This spring academy is designed for professionals and researchers working on issues related to business and human rights and corporate social responsibility, in particular:

  •        Early- to mid-career professionals
  •        Civil servants
  •        Lawyers and legal counsel for corporations
  •        Civil society representatives
  •        Social auditors
  •        Researchers and advanced students

The Asser Institute offers a limited number of fee-waiver scholarships available to master students and PhD candidates. In order to apply for the scholarship please send your curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation (max 300 words) to Antoine Duval. 

Deadline for application: 1 March 2023

Scholarship applications will be reviewed by the organisers. If you are successful, you will be notified of the result by the 6 March 2023.  Should you have any further questions regarding scholarships, please contact Antoine Duval. 

Antoine Duval
undefinedThe Spring Academy is coordinated by Dr Antoine Duval, a senior researcher at the Asser Institute, and the coordinator for the research strand on transnational public interests: constituting public interest beyond and below the state. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the ASSER International Sports Law Blog, founder and editor of the Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration, and a member of the editorial board of the International Sports Law Journal and International Sports Law book Series of Asser Press.

Virginie Rouas
undefinedThe Spring Academy is coordinated by Dr Virginie Rouas, a researcher in Business and Human Rights and EU Environmental Law at the Asser Institute in the transnational public interests: constituting public interest beyond and below the state research strand. Dr. Rouas is a member of the Business and Human Rights Practitioners’ Network, the Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association, and the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law. She is also an Editorial Board member of the Law, Environment and Development Journal.