Develop critical thinking and integrate the principles of sustainable development into legal practice
Sustainability is enshrined in Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union: it builds on “... a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment”. To implement this, the EU has mainstreamed sustainable development into a broad range of its policies and taken the lead in the fight against climate change and pollution, in particular. At the same time, unsustainable trends persist in many areas, and efforts need to be intensified to ensure compliance with EU environmental norms and policies. In my view, the new Law and Sustainability in Europe Master’s programme at Utrecht University comes at the right time for younger generations to develop their critical thinking and integrate the principles of sustainable development into legal practice.
— Sarah Ziane, Deputy Head Environmental Implementation at the European Commission
Private practice needs lawyers who really understand the dynamics of fast-paced social and economic developments
Today’s companies face growing environmental challenges, complex sustainability issues and changing demands from society. Their boards have a legal obligation to manage the resulting risks, including regulatory ones – on a national, EU and wider international level. Reporting obligations are met when environmental and sustainability information is disclosed and integrated, triggering greater transparency and accountability. At the same time, stakeholder engagement and strategic litigation are on the rise, with parties alleging that disclosure and reporting obligations have been violated or that open norms have been breached. Private practice needs lawyers who really understand the dynamics of fast-paced social and economic developments and how to integrate sustainability goals into business operations and board responsibilities. The Law and Sustainability in Europe Master's programme is an excellent stepping-stone for law graduates to work in private practice or at multinationals as in-house legal counsel – helping businesses prepare for a sustainable future.
— Nicolien van den Biggelaar, Partner | Lawyer, admitted to the Netherlands Bar, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V.