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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Daniel Attenborough

Attenborough, D. (2016). An Estoppel-Based Approach to Enforcing Corporate Environmental Responsibilities. Journal of Environmental Law 28(2): 275-299.

Author(s) from Durham


Within the regulatory space that exists at the intersection of UK company law and environmental regulation, the business community has generated its own environmental governance initiatives to address growing anxiety about companies’ externalised risk. Yet, there is currently nothing in law to prevent companies from frequently acting inconsistently with these voluntary unilateral assurances, which has led to widespread concern that environmental values are treated as merely instrumental to the dominant idea of achieving economic benefits for the company. This article examines a specific case for the legal facilitation of binding obligations owed to the environment, which require a company to make good on its previous commitments about environmental responsibility. It seeks to demonstrate that this is possible through the common law doctrine of estoppel, which can be opened up to prevent a company from acting inconsistently with its previous statements or actions about the governance of environmental risk.