Legal Challenges of Integrating Sustainability Into Antitrust Enforcement – A Case for Interdisciplinary Research

When: 31 Jan 2022, 14:15-15:30
Where: Zoom
Speaker: Stefan Thomas

To enter the virtual seminar room, please use the following login credentials:

Zoom URL:
Meeting ID: 925 2291 4962

Abstract (first paragraph*):

The consideration of sustainability goals in antitrust enforcement is at the center of a fierce debate among practitioners and scholars worldwide. Unlike most epochal discourses in antitrust, the subject did not emerge from the USA. Rather, it was pushed by European scholars and agencies. Even though it is easy to find endorsement for the goal of increasing sustainability, it is much more challenging to reconcile such postulates with the paradigms underlying antitrust. In economic terms, the problem lies in the internalization of negative environmental (or social) externalities and the fact that the interdependencies between sustainability and consumer rent are more complex than, say, the relation between a price reduction and consumer rent. The reasons lie in the multifaceted interdependencies between information, the dimension of time, the definition of the consumer cohort and social norms in shaping the consumers’ appreciation for sustainability. Traditional antitrust enforcement paradigms are prone to neglect those interdependencies and thereby create a much too restrictive stance towards sustainability agreements among rivalling firms.

*Read the full abstract here.