Research theme within Environmental Law and Governance.

Research projects:

Sustainability, Social Entrepreneurship and Water

Since 2013 and as of today a multidisciplinary doctoral research on sustainability and social entrepreneurship is conducted by Aikaterini Argyrou. The research focuses on the examination of a normative framework that delivers substance to the concept of sustainability in entrepreneurship and company law. Respectively, it examines supportive legal frameworks and tailor-made legal forms for sustainable social enterprises in European countries. The research focuses on four specific countries of interest i.e. Greece, Belgium, UK, and ultimately in the Netherlands by employing:

  1. comparative legal research and
  2. the empirical investigation of case studies of social enterprises.

The empirical research examines particularly corporate governance models of social enterprises, multi-actor and multi-stakeholder structures as well as the means of stakeholder engagement and sustainable management employed by social enterprises through case studies. This project is set up by Nyenrode Business University together with Utrecht University.

The research addresses also the possibilities for participation and inclusion of various types of stakeholders in decision-making processes (using a sample of Dutch social enterprises in collaboration with Nyenrode Business University and Price Waterhouse Coopers NL). Among the developed case studies, empirical research is conducted on social enterprises with environmental objectives which aim to the protection of the right to water, e.g. Dopper BV. 

Researchers:

  • Aikaterini Argyrou
  • Tineke Lambooy
Fair and equitable treatment of investors and the right to regulate of states

Yulia Levashova is working on the PhD research: Fair and equitable treatment of investors and the right to regulate of states. The right to regulate in the framework of international investment law has been a topical debate since this discipline gained prominence on the international and national policy agenda and among academic researchers and practitioners. This PhD study analyses one of the most important, but also one of the most contentious investment protection standards: the obligation to provide the fair and equitable treatment (FET) to foreign investors.

With the rise of investment cases including the claims on the FET standard, one of the issues relating to the FET standard is the balance between the right to regulate of host states and the right of investors to be accorded fair and equitable treatment. Certainly, the debate on sovereign powers in the context of international investment law is not new; however, the question regarding the scope of the FET standard and the extent to which arbitrators can review the policies and laws of host states created for the purpose of public welfare remains unsettled.

The goal of this comprehensive study is to asses and to define the concept “right to regulate” specifically in the context of the FET standard and to provide a relevant threshold for host state regulatory activities in the context of the FET obligation. The analysis of the FET standard is based on empirical research. The study analyses this provisions in:

  1. numerous International Investment Agreements (treaty-drafting level);
  2. relevant arbitral awards (jurisprudential level);
  3. policy treaty-drafting proposals (policy level).

The specific focus of Yulia’s research is the issue of the environmental protection and international investment law. In 2015, she has edited (with two co-editors) the book “Bridging the Gap between International Investment Law”, published by Eleven Publishing.

Researchers:

  • Yulia Levashova
  • Tineke Lambooy
Legal Frameworks for Social Enterprises in Belgium

This study aims to investigate how the existing legal framework for social enterprises in Belgium affects the activity of social enterprises in the social housing, finance and energy sector. The article focuses on the examination of the legal factor of governance as well as the decision-making power of stakeholders in one particular type of social enterprises, the so-called company with a social purpose, ‘Vennootschap met Sociaal Oogmerk’ (VSO). 

The authors conducted three case studies. They examined three social enterprises which are active in three different sectors in Belgium i.e. the energy, finance and housing sector. By comparing three case studies, this article aims to generate a cross-sectoral theoretical analysis regarding the practical application of the legal factor of governance in the Belgian social enterprises as well as a comprehensive understanding of the involvement of different stakeholders in the social enterprises governance in three different sectors. 

The cross-sectoral analysis elaborated on the implementation of the legal provisions with respect to the governance of social enterprises as well as on the participation of various types of stakeholders in the decision-making process in every sector. Useful conclusions were drawn for the improvement of the legal framework of social

Published in: A. Argyrou, T. Lambooy, R. Blomme, H. Kievit, G.Kruseman, D.H. Siccama, ‘An empirical investigation of supportive legal frameworks for social enterprises in Belgium: A cross-sectoral comparison of case studies for social enterprises from the social housing, finance and energy sector perspective’, in V. Mauerhofer, (Ed.) Legal Aspects of Sustainable Development: horizontal and sectorial policy issues, Springer, 2016.

Researchers:

  • Aikaterini Argyrou
  • Tineke Lambooy