The developing field of ESG law and mass claim instruments: a challenging combination

Authors D.C. Roessingh, J.W. de Boer 1

ESG is a broad concept entailing several – or: many – aspects of sustainable conduct. Mass claims based on private law notions have long been an instrument in pursuing interests that would nowadays be dubbed to be part of the developing field of ESG. The interplay between mass claims on the one hand and ESG on the other with many legislative developments as well as active regulators, academia and NGOs call for attention. To explore the role that mass claims can play in the context of ESG, court cases against the State and other public authorities must be considered as well as those against corporates. A common denominator is that they give rise to considerations about the extent to which courts can and should decide questions on specific points that are part of a systemically complex playing field, subject to rapidly developing regulation, and often charged with diverging societal and political views on the precise role of specific groups of actors and the result that they pursue with legal action, even if the relevant actors agree on the ultimate goal to be achieved.

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