Competition Law Forum debates sustainability
The Nucleus for Competition, Public Policy, Innovation and Technology (COMPPIT) at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo Law School is holding a webinar called “Competition Law Forum on Competition Law and Sustainability.” This public event will be livestreamed on FGV’s YouTube channel on May 30, starting at 10 am.
The event will feature Professor Elizabeth Farina of the University of Sao Paulo; Professor Julian Nowag of Lund University; Pablo Machado, executive director of Suzano; and Marcela Lorenzetti, a lawyer at BMA Advogados, who is doing a master’s at the FGV Sao Paulo Law School. The opening remarks will be made by Professor Caio Mario da Silva Pereira Neto, the coordinator of COMPPIT.
In light of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, governments and private organizations have been urged to implement new sustainable practices with a view to containing the climate emergency and promoting sustainable agriculture, among other objectives. In this context, many companies have sought collaboration with competitors to implement new sustainability standards, aiming to overcome collective action problems and achieve greater scale.
While such collaboration may be seen as socially desirable, it may also pose competition risks if it promotes greater uniformity in the market or has the effect of excluding other competitors by setting excessively costly standards, for example. The competition authorities may be invited to analyze agreements of this nature, reflecting on whether they should weigh the competition risks arising vis-à-vis their benefits for society. In other situations, the antitrust authorities may come across operations and practices that, despite being pro-competition or competition neutral, generate a clear negative impact on the environment.
Furthermore, in a context of innovation to achieve more sustainable standards, this movement may radically change the structure and conditions of competition in the market, influencing antitrust analysis. Thus, one important aspect of the debate involves understanding the magnitude of the impacts of the climate emergency and the energy transition on demand and supply conditions in the impacted markets, placing antitrust authorities in a situation of greater uncertainty.
Thinking about these and other examples, academics and market professionals have reflected on the relationship between antitrust policies and sustainability, addressing the potential scope for convergence in certain aspects of these policies.
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