Andreas Buser

Andreas Buser is affiliated with the Berlin/Potsdam DFG Research Group “International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?” and Freie Universität Berlin where he teaches courses in international law, constitutional- and human rights, and administrative law. He currently pursues his Habilitation (working title: The Planetary Constitution). In his PhD thesis he focused on the impact of emerging powers on international trade and investment law from a global justice perspective. During his PhD he was invited as an academic fellow to National University Delhi (Prof. M.P. Singh) and Xiamen Law School (Prof. Cai Congyan). Andreas Buser is a fully qualified German lawyer. As part of his legal training he inter alia worked for the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, the European Centre for Constitutional Rights, and the Berlin office of ClientEarth. He continues to provide legal advice to NGOs in environmental litigation cases.


Research Project

Protecting Planetary Boundaries through Unilateral Trade Regulation? A Planetary Justice Perspective on EU and US approaches to ‘Green’ Global Capitalism. The proposed research project is the first to look at unilateral environmental trade regulation, such as the draft EU regulation on corporate sustainability, from a planetary boundary perspective. It identifies notable short-comings and limitations in currently discussed drafts and provides a nuanced normative assessment of trade instruments capability to ‘green’ the global economy to inform both academic and policy debates. To do so the project relies on notions of ‘planetary justice’ informed by the concept of ‘planetary boundaries’ developed in natural sciences. For five out of nine planetary boundaries identified by scientists, humanity already left its “safe operating space”. Given that one of the main drivers of planetary boundary overshoot is consumption in the Global North and the offshoring of environmental problems along global value chains, legal reform is urgently necessary. Thus, one may welcome laws currently discussed in the EU and the US which seek to establish Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAMs) and corporate sustainability regulations which could limit industrialized States’ planetary footprint. However, these mechanisms also raise legal and normative concerns. Building on notions of ‘complicity’ of international environmental law in ecological destruction developed by critical legal scholars, one may even ask whether environmental trade regulations mask, rather than contain, corporate impacts on planetary boundaries while strengthening post-colonial economic and legal structures, with powerful States unilaterally imposing their standards on the Global South. To explore this research agenda the proposed research project is structured along three interdependent working packages (WPs): Limited scope of existing legal proposals and potential extension to other planetary boundaries (planetary scope), potential cooperation between the EU and US and the pitfalls of unilateralism (participatory justice), and potential to address affectedness by planetary destabilization together with economic and social inequality (planetary justice).