9th Critical and Alternative Thinking in Governance (CATG)

Reframing governance for systemic sustainability

The discourse on sustainability has been raised as a response to the numerous scientific and activist (Internation, Extention Rebells, etc.) warnings against the level of resources exploitation/depletion and human impacts on earth, starting in the early 80s. However, a number of important issues remain up for debate.

Is green reindustrialisation enough or should we aim for more profound (societal) transformations?

Are individual national commitments sufficient or should we rely even more on global partnerships and agreements?

Especially if each country commits itself almost alone. Is sustainability only referring to environmental degradation or should we consider more socio-political issues more broadly?

Corporate and individual routines are slow and often opportunistic in their response to the call for sustainable development. A number of reports and studies highlight the irreversible feature of the human lives’ negative impacts on nature and their potential effects on climate, biodiversity, health and societies. Over the last two decades, increasing pressure toward sustainable development has resulted in the emergence of a range of reporting practices constraining corporations and national states to measure and transparently communicate upon their actions and achievements toward sustainable development.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the successive versions of the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, together with the efforts of the World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank, and other international institutions have conveyed consistent messages of market-based dominance. The proliferation of ESG, IR, and other comprehensive indicators starts to have an impact on some investors’ behaviour. In addition, the pressure of measurement as (unique) instrument of “trust recovery” was added as necessary evidence reinforced by the call for transparency of companies and states’ actions on the ecosystems. This collective advocacy suggests the existence of a universal consensus regarding the necessary advancements of international corporate governance standards. However, is it too slow or there is something else hindering the paradigm shift, apart from the political powers

Global convergence calls for a new institutional architecture where global challenges such as sustainability, fair trade and corporate and political responsibilities meet the regional/local imperatives where action takes place. There is an urgent need for more integration of the institutional framework at the global, national and local levels.

This would help shift from the global mechanical type of governance to a new multilayered governance: global (for universal rights), regional or national (for resource coherence) and local (for societal integration and harmony). By relying on collective intelligence across the planet and by anchoring plans and actions in the knowledge of local and peaceful ecosystems, several innovations (social, political, economic) could emerge, and some could be widespread.

We invite academics (and practitioners alike) to present cutting edge research and thought leadership dealing with emerging issues in corporate governance for sustainability in society facing global social and political shifts. We seek empirical and conceptual papers addressing a diverse range of topics that include, but are not limited to, the following debates:

  • What new socio-political arrangements are needed to help corporations address climate change and equality challenges?
  • Are concepts such as earthbound human identity and enhanced humans useful for reframing corporate governance? Are they part of the problem or part of the solution in the evolution of governance debates?
  • Is the growing involvement of investment funds in the sustainability debate changing business models and policies sufficiently?
  • Can (innovative) accounting frameworks, such as biodiversity accounting, be considered effective approaches to balance the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability in organizations?
  • How could local governance practices emancipate from international institutions’ domination and serve global sustainability?
  • What is the effective role of reporting guidelines and standards in preventing ‘bad’ governance of sustainability? What is the role of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this regard?
  • How current governance mechanisms suit new factors of production, such as knowledge, (artificial) intelligence, and digital technology, to become central to overall social wellbeing?
  • Are transnational corporations, organisations or similar institutions, in their present form, able to promote and implement systemic sustainability?
  • How could local governance practices of the ‘Big South’ economies help to address new forms of reflective and informed (corporate) governance with regard to systemic sustainability?
  • It is the role of corporations (and their governance structures) to provide solutions to sustainability issues? What main features characterize the sustainability challenge?
  • Is it the role of corporations (and their governance structures) to provide solutions to sustainability issues? What main features characterize the sustainability challenge?

Preliminary program

20 June 2022 ( Monday) 21 June 2022 ( Tuesday)
9h30- 13h
Paper session 1
Paper session 2
Academic debate
Regular Lunch
Opening talk (guest note)
Paper session 3
Paper session 4
Practitioner debate
Closing talk (guest note)
Gala Dinner

Scientific committee

Guest note speakers

Prof. Emmanuel Didier

Centre Maurice Halbwachs

École Normale Supérieure, Paris

Professor Didier is a member of the French National Advisory Council on Ethics. Originally trained as a statistician (ENSAE Paris), he very soon specialized in the study of statistics as a tool of government. His work looks at quantification, democracy, management by number, and political analysis of public statistics. Recently he has been working on a project on big data in the domain of health and especially in genomics.

Prof. Janina Grabs

Society, Politics and Sustainability Department

ESADE Business School, Barcelona

Janina Grabs received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Münster, Germany, and previously was a post-doctoral researcher at ETH Zurich and visiting researcher at Yale University. Her work focuses on the private governance of sustainability in global value chains, with a special focus on tropical agricultural commodities such as coffee and palm oil. Her work on the effectiveness of private sustainability governance in the coffee sector has been widely recognized.

Important dates

Research symposium (20-21/ 2022)
Deadline for submission of CAAG 10-page proposals: 31 March 2022
Notification of acceptance: 22 April 2022
Deadline for CAAG full-text submission: 26 May 2022
Early bird/author registration: 10 June 2022
Format: Hybrid

IN SITU – Symposium fees* in euros (VAT incl.)

Early Bird Fee (up to 10 June 2022)€ 250
Regular Fee (11 June – 20 June 2022)€ 350
One-site Registration Fee € 420
(PHD) Student reduction– 50%
Symposium fees include documentation, coffee breaks, lunch, gala dinner.

DIGITAL – Symposium fees* in euros (VAT incl.)

Early Bird Fee (up to 10 June 2022)€40
Regular Fee (11 June – 20 June 2022)€60
(PHD) Student reduction-50 %
Symposium fees include documentation, Zoom access to the symposium.


For further information please contact: workshop@tbs-education.es .

Submissions should be sent to: workshop@tbs-education.es

Organizing committee

Wafa Khlif, Chair

TBS Barcelona, Spain w.khlif@tbs-education.es

Lotfi Karoui

École de Management- Normandie, France lkaroui@em-normandie.fr

Kim Ceulemans

TBS Toulouse, France k.ceulemans@tbs-education.fr

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