1st Edition

Corporate Law and Climate Change Theory, Risk, Governance

By Andrew Clarke Copyright 2025
    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides an analysis of the impact of the climate crisis on corporate law and theory in the coming decades as the world seeks to meet the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    Net zero targets are a particular challenge for an economy such as Australia which has a historical reliance on fossil fuels, and powerful interests arguing for the continued use of coal and gas. The book examines four recent corporate case studies in Australia. The first two follow the Adani group of companies and coal in Queensland and Rio Tinto and the destruction of ancient rock shelters in the midst of iron ore mining in WA. The book then covers the pension fund member Mark McVeigh issuing proceedings against REST super in relation to long-run investment decisions and the need to take into account climate risk. Finally, it discusses Sharma, a representative action taken by school children against the Federal government in relation to expansion plans in relation to fossil fuels alleging breach of the duty of care. These case studies highlight some of the key trends and challenges in the intersection between corporate activity and the need to account for climate risk and adaptation, with Australia as a G20 economy having much to contribute to the global debate.

    The book will be of interest to students and researchers in the field of climate and environmental law, as well as corporate law and theory.

    Acknowledgements

     

    Introduction

    1. Corporate Law, Climate Change and Financial Risk

    2. Corporate Law History, Hubris and Failing to Assess Risk: Trends from The East India Company to Kodak

    3. The Corporate Climate I: Coal and Politics, The Adani Group of Companies, and the Emergence of Stranded Assets

    4. The Corporate Climate II: Rio Tinto and the Social Licence to Operate

    5. The Corporate Climate III: Long-Term Risk, Superannuation and the Mcveigh Case

    6. The Corporate Climate IV: Litigation Risk, the Extension of the Duty of Care within the Climate Context, and Stranded Assets

    7. The Emergence of Climate Risk and the End of Shareholder Primacy?

    8. Re-casting Corporate Law Theory: Emerging Possibilities in the Epoch of the Climate Emergency  

    9. The Sustainable Corporation in the Epoch of Net Zero

    10. Conclusion: The Challenge for Corporate Law in the Age of the Climate Emergency

     

    Index

    Biography

    Andrew Clarke has written widely in corporate law, governance, torts law, and risk.  Andrew is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law at Southern Cross University NSW, in the Institute of Innovation, Science and Sustainability at Federation University Victoria, and in the College of Comparative Law, China University of Politics and Law, in Beijing. Andrew was Foundation Dean in the College of Law and Justice at Victoria University in Melbourne between 2007 and 2016, and thereafter chair of corporate law until the end of 2023.