International Conference „Business and Human Rights Governance Challenges in Times of Complexity and Crisis?“


The Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, in collaboration with the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the City of Nuremberg, organized the International Conference on „Business and Human Rights Governance Challenges in Times of Complexity and Crisis“ from September 24-26, 2023. Approximately 100 participants from around the world, including professors, representatives from civil society and business
sectors, as well as PhD and Master students from FAU and other international universities, actively participated in this three-day conference.
A significant number of participants attended virtually, given that all the sessions were streamed online.

After the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award Ceremony and the Nuremberg Peace Table (Nürnberger Friedenstafel) on Sunday, September 24, 2023, the conference commenced in Courtroom 600 of the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. Professor Christoph Safferling, the Director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, opened the conference with a welcome speech, followed by a keynote address delivered by Professor Andrew Clapham from the Geneva Graduate Institute.

On Monday, September 25, 2023, the conference continued in the Heilig-Geist-Saal with welcome and opening speeches by the Lord Mayor of Nuremberg, Marcus König, and the President of FAU, Joachim Hornegger. It proceeded with panel discussions centered on rethinking corporate purposes, stakeholder participation and rights-holders claim, and the responsibilities of corporations. The day concluded with an input by the 2023 Nuremberg International Human Rights Awardee, Malcolm Bidali.

On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the final day of the conference started with a keynote delivered by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development, Professor Surya Deva, highlighting the role of businesses in realising the right to development. This was followed by panels discussing topics such as migration and labour, climate justice, and corporate complicity in international crimes. The conference terminated with Professor Heiner Bielefeldt’s closing remark. It summarized the primary outcomes of the preceding discussions and left the audience with reflective thoughts, emphasizing the significance of hope and simplicity in times of complexity and crisis.

You can find the Conference Programme and a list of the speakers and their affiliations here.


Past Events

Please find here a selection of past events.

POST Spring School

POST Spring School

Topic: The role and value of partnerships in sustainability transformations

24 – 26 May 2023

Organized by Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Sustainability challenges fall into social, environmental, and economic domains and are
complex, wicked, and transboundary in nature. Responding to them effectively requires
different approaches and involvement and cooperation of different stakeholders – private
companies, international organizations, civil society groups, academia, government bodies
and local communities.
Partnerships Orchestrating Sustainability Transformations (POST) is dedicated to
understanding cross-sector partnerships for sustainability transformations through exploring
its meaning, dimensions, context, and nature in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa
through interdisciplinary research, exchange, and collaboration.

It was initiated in response to the first funding call for joint institutional activities in
September 2022 by three member institutions of the EELISA.

So far, two workshops have been organized by SNS and UPM in January and March 2023

POST Spring School will be organized by FAU from 24-26 May 2023 in Nürnberg, Germany by
the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN) and Chair for Corporate Sustainability Management. It will focus on deepening the understanding of multi-
stakeholder partnerships engaged in tackling the grand sustainability challenges of our times. As such, it will help participants explore the ‘values’ dimension of partnerships.

Further information POST Spring School

POST Workshop II Madrid: Partnerships in Practice

POST Workshop II Madrid: Partnerships in Practice

On March 9 – 10, 2023, some members of the International Doctorate Programme “Business and
Human Rights: Governance Challenges in a Complex World (IDP) traveled to Madrid to attend
and co-organize the workshop on “Partnerships in Practice” as part of the “Partnerships
Orchestrating Sustainability Transformations (POST) project. POST is a collaboration initiative
between FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), and Universidad
Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), funded by EELISA European University. The POST agenda
supports the UN SDG 17 on Partnerships for Goals and aims to understand cross-sector
partnerships for sustainability transformations through exploring its meaning, dimensions,
context, and nature in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa through interdisciplinary
research, exchange, and collaboration. POST was an initiative of the representatives from the
IDP at FAU: Chau Bui, Loren Bustos, Kania Guzaimi, Shuvra Dey, Supriya Singh, and Xu

After successfully conducting the first POST workshop on “Partnerships for Sustainable
Development: Searching for Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives” last January 2023
hosted by SNS in Florence, the Madrid workshop hosted by ItdUPM was conceptualized to
further support and build upon the fundamental understandings of Partnership by adopting a
practical and context-sensitive approach. Day 1 kick-started with a meeting with the EELISA
Executive Director, Sofia d’ Aguiar. In the afternoon, the hybrid session on “Partnerships in
context: an approach to transformation” opened an important discussion on Partnership with
guest speakers Dr. Leda Stott (European Commission), Prof. Markus Krajewski (FAU), and
Prof. Markus Beckmann (FAU). This is then followed by a workshop on “Partnership’s
lifecycle” facilitated by partnership experts, Leda Stott and Javier Mazorra. The workshop was
devoted to unfolding the concept of “Partnership’s lifecycle,” a well-known framework in the
frontier between practice and academia. On Day 2, the session opened with a roundtable on
“Partnerships between theory and practice” and invited a panel with diverse and interesting case
studies. The aim of this roundtable was to reach out, exchange experiences around a selection of
real cases, and enlarge our academic network. Two doctoral researchers from the IDP were also
part of that dynamic panel; Bruna Singh presented on the topic titled “Multi Stakeholder
Partnerships: A Valuable Tool for Enhancing Leverage in Business and Human Rights,” and
Nelson Okeyo presented on “ICT Partnerships in Africa, Legitimacy and The Way Forward.”

Climate Justice Conference

Multidisciplinary workshop: Climate Justice in a Globalized World

from October 21 – 22, 2022

The guiding theme of the workshop is to understand climate change as it resides in different social, economic and political settings.

Fast Facts:

IDP Researchers Mirka Fries, Jakob Nehls, Marie Sophie Keller, and Eklavya Vasudev, together with Siddharth Peter De Souza, post doctoral researcher  from Tilburg University, organized an interdisciplinary workshop on climate justice on the 22nd and 23rd of October 2022. At the workshop, which was divided into five main panels, 23 participants from all over the world presented papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The workshop offered critical insights and scholarly contributions, setting the tone for the group’s overarching goal of hosting a public on-site conference, planned for May, and publishing an interdisciplinary collection of scholarly literature addressing climate justice from a nuanced, comparative perspective.

Workshop format

The main objective of the workshop was to understand and conceptualize climate justice from diverse geographical, disciplinary as well as thematic perspectives. The program consisted of five interlinked panels investigating the role of courts, economic and social rights, gender, technology and data, and agriculture in the context of climate justice. In advance to the virtual workshop, each participant  submitted a short article on topics of their choice within the ambit of the five themes, which served as a basis for fruitful discussions among the panelists.

In order to ensure deep engagement with the content, a peer presentation method (see Institute for Global Law & Policy at Harvard Law School) was used. This proved very successful, as it allowed to combine academic rigor with passionate debates. Each panelist took away constructive feedback and also uncovered hidden insights. In the coming months, the panelists will develop their papers into elaborate scientific articles that will form the core of the planned publication

Panel discussions

The panel on courts focused on the questions, how structural transformations in the pursuit of climate justice can be fostered by judicial processes. The panelists discussed current legal issues related to space, time, and urgency in climate litigation. They covered approaches ranging from human rights law to investment law as well as regional best practices from India and Brazil.

The panel on economic and social rights contrasted different understandings of human rights in general and economic, social and cultural rights in particular in the Global North and South. By looking through the lens of concepts like environmental racism or corporate occupation from both regional and global perspectives, the need for a decolonized reading of rights was emphasized.

The gender panel focused on gender and other intersecting social categories and their impact on climate justice. The discussion focused i.a. on how “othering” hinders the struggle for climate justice. As a holistic response, the panelists pointed to Latin American communitarian feminism, which conceives time, space and body as interlinked concepts and therewith serves as a tool to question the individualistic nature of dominant discourses. They further discussed the role of indigenous knowledge and women’s engagement as keys to environmental and climate protection.

The technology panel discussed the role of technology, data policy, and respective regulatory approaches in climate justice. The panelists generally appraised the role of technology and data in creating solutions to climate justice. However, all discussants critically commented on narratives framing the latter as panaceas, as it risks ignoring their role in the manifestation and reinforcement of inequalities.

In the agriculture panel, the discussions turned on the various actors in this field, and analyzed their vulnerability and responsibility in the struggle for climate justice. Special attention was put on the role of the law, its inherent biases and the potentials and pitfalls contained in different legal systems. As transnational agricultural corporations continue to increase their profits also in the face of the climate crisis, the conventional business and human rights approach was critically evaluated.

Next steps and thanks

The discussions revealed obvious and less obvious overlaps and interconnections between all five topics. The focus now is on filling remaining gaps, further developing the papers and coalescing the intersecting projects into one consolidated output. Panelists will continue the virtual discussion before meeting for the follow- up conference on site in Nuremberg from May 8-11, 2023. The organizers thank all participants for their valuable contributions as well as all colleagues and professors who helped organize the workshop.

Book Presentation: Business and Human Rights in an Unequal World: A Genealogy

Book Presentation: Business and Human Rights in an Unequal World: A Genealogy

Michelle Staggs Kelsall – SOAS University of London

Thursday, 16 February 18:00 – 20:00 CET, Raum LG (0.423) FAU Nürnberg

and Zoom

ID: 670 6549 7005

How can we understand the turn toward Business & Human Rights at the start of the new millennium? Why did this field of academic inquiry, policy development and legal practice emerge in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008? And how might Business & Human Rights yet change how lawyers theorize and practice international human rights law in the twenty-first century?

These are the questions that remain at the heart of Business & Human Rights in an Unequal World: A Genealogy. Drawing upon fifty years of United Nations archives, the book tells the story of ongoing attempts by scholars, civil servaots and activists to radicalize states’ responses to inequality in the international legal order by re-casting the corporation as a vehicle of social change. The book argues that the field of Business & Human Rights has flourished by giving rise to a legal sensibility it calls ’embedded pragmatism’. While pragmatism retains some of the radical sentiments of past attempts at redressing inequality through regulating corporate conduct, it fixates jurists‘ attention on the ‘art of the possible’.

This has the effect of maintaining the central dynamics of existing corporate processes and results in the field providing a response to human rights abuse that is presentist, crisis-responsive, and based upon a theory of change that is incremental. The book then proposes a new theory of embedded intersectionality. In so doing, it invites scholars, lawyers and activists to re-think the parameters of Business & Human Rights by attenuating to human rights abuse in a manner that is historically situated, proactive, and responsive to change that is increasingly exponential.

Dr. Kelsall will discuss the central argument of her work, explaining how pragmatism became the animating feature of Business & Human Rights and drawing upon case studies of exponential change to illustrate her theory.

Bio: About the Author

Dr. Michelle Staggs Kelsall is a Senior Lecturer in Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights Law at SOAS University of London. She came to SOAS with over a decade of experience conducting applied research in West Africa and Southeast Asia, for multiple research centres, and working for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights where she obtained a respected reputation as an authoritative expert on human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Law and Law in Context.

Dr. Kelsall is also the Co-Founder of ATLAS (Acting Together: Law, Advice, Support) a global network of 8.500 international lawyers committed to empowering, supporting and connecting women pursuing careers in international law.

Her forthcoming book will be published with Oxford University Press in 2023.

POST: Roundtable on Partnerships for sustainable development: searching for theoretical and methodological perspectives

The Partnerships Orchestrating Sustainability Transformations (POST) is a project of a team from the EELISA in collaboration with Scuola Normale Superiore Florence and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid dedicated to understanding cross-sector partnerships for sustainability transformations through exploring its meaning, dimensions, context, and nature.

POST will organize 3 distinct activities between January 2023 – April 2023:

  1. Workshop 1, Roundtable & Research visit (Hybrid; Led by Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence)
  2. Workshop 2 & Research visit (Hybrid; Led by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Madrid)
  3. Spring School (in-person; Led by FAU in Nürnberg)

The first activity in Florence “Roundtable on Partnerships for sustainable development: searching for theoretical and methodological perspectives” was held on January 16, 2023, Monday at 15:00 – 18:00 on a hybrid format via MS Teams.

The roundtable aims to focus on how sustainability challenges and partnerships are politically and socially constructed and shaped in dominant discourses and practices. The outcome of the roundtable will be to outline some guiding theories and perspectives that could shed light onto research on partnerships and sustainable development. We highly encourage all interested participants to join us! For further information and registration, you can visit:

IDP Workshop

On January 10, the International Doctoral Program in Business and Human Rights organized a workshop to discuss some of the group’s research projects in law. The workshop counted with the participation of Prof. Markus Krajewski and Prof. Patricia Wiater, and visiting professor Danielle Pamplona from the Pontific Catholic University of Paraná (Brazil). The researchers topics discussed were:

  • Human Rights and Tech, from Sabrina Rau
  • Leverage and Business & Human Rights, from Bruna Singh
  • Climate Justice and Corporate Accountability, from Julia Stefanello (visiting researcher).

IDP Delegation attended UN Forum

The FAU IDP Delegation attended the 11th United Nations Forum on Business & Human Rights in Geneva, from 28-30 November 2022.

UN Forum is the world’s largest annual gathering on business and human rights with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organisations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.

Over three days, participants take part in 60+ panel discussions on topics that relate to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the United Nations „Protect, Respect and Remedy“ Framework), as well as current business-related human rights issues.

The Forum is the foremost event to network, share experiences and learn about the latest initiatives to promote corporate respect for human rights.

Find out more

Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2022: Unternehmen vor Gericht? Im Namen der Menschenrechte!

Unternehmen vor Gericht? Im Namen der Menschenrechte!

Our Doctoral Researchers presented a short skit on Business and Human Rights during the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2022 on 21st of May in Erlangen.

Please find detailed information here.

Summer School: Human Rights Law in Context

Third International Summer School Human Rights Law in Context

Special Focus: Business and Human Rights

From 13 to 16 September 2021, the Center for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN) in cooperation with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) will host the Third Summer School on Human Rights Law in context. The focus area will be business and human rights including topics such as human rights due diligence, corporate liability, supply chain responsibility and practical experiences from litigation and companies.

Speakers include inter alia Miriam Saage-Maaß, Markus Krajewski, Claire Bright, Richard Meeran, Christian Schliemann, Barbara Lamprecht and Markus Löning.

Please find the programme here.

Lecture Series Winter Term 21/22: Business and Human Rights

Lecture Series Winter Term 2021 / 2022:

Business and Human Rights

We warmly invite you to our upcoming lecture series: Business and Human Rights

The lecture series will be held Tuesdays from 6.30 – 8.00 p.m. in the B6 BISSANTZ Hörsaal Nuremberg.

Participation is open and free of charge, no prior registration is required. As of Nov 15 2021, access will only be granted to people who are vaccinated against or have recovered from COVID-19 (2G rule). Please have documentation ready.

The lecture will also take place via Zoom:


Meeting-ID: 931 3332 1344 Password: 169874

Recorded lectures can be found here.

For more video options please follow this link

Florian Wettstein: „Learning and Unlearning Business and Human Rights“

Florian Wettstein: "Learning and Unlearning Business and Human Rights"


Barbara Lamprecht: „Company Perspectives on Business and Human Rights“

Barbara Lamprecht: "Company Perspectives on Business and Human Rights"


Elke Schüßler: „Business and Human Rights – A New Logic for Corporate Responsibility?“

Elke Schüßler: "Business and Human Rights - A New Logic for Corporate Responsibility?"


Markus Löning: „Business and Human Rights – A practical perspective“

Markus Löning: "Business and Human Rights - A practical perspective"


Grazyna Baranowska: „Human Rights of Migrants: Missing Migrants in Europe and the Role of Businesses“

Grazyna Baranowska: "Human Rights of Migrants: Missing Migrants in Europe and the Role of Businesses"