Sustainability and competition


Public and private entities across the globe are called to strengthen their commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include, among others, tackling poverty and inequality, promoting sustainable agriculture, supporting affordable and clean energy, promoting responsible consumption and production, protecting labour rights and fight climate change. In this context, a potential conflict between the sustainability goals and the protection of competition may arise.

In December 2020, in a virtual meeting with competition authorities, the OECD Competition Committee addressed three primary questions associated with broader sustainability considerations and competition law:
  • Is there a potential conflict between competition and sustainability goals?
  • How is competition law enforced in cases that present sustainability issues, and how have competition authorities taken those into account within the existing analytical framework?
  • What tools exist and could be used by competition authorities or other public bodies to enable them to take into account sustainability concerns?

The key findings of this discussion were again explored during the 2021 OECD Competition Open Day, this time in a virtual event open to the public. 

» Watch the session replay

» See full list of best practice roundtables on competition 


On 24 February 2021, sustainability and competition were addressed at the third edition of the OECD Competition Open Day.

Watch the session on replay

Watch the full event's playlist

green background sectors and hands

Invited speakers

Gianni de Stefano   Bio    

Director Global Competition Law, AkzoNobel, Netherlands

Maurits Dolmans   Bio  
Partner, Cleary Gottlieb

Simon Holmes   Bio   

Judge, Ordinary Member, Competition Appeal Tribunal, UK

Suzanne Kingston   Bio   

Professor, University College Dublin Sutherland School of Law, Ireland


Ioannis Lianos  Bio  

President of the Hellenic Competition Commission, Professor, University College London

Julian Nowag   Bio   

Associate Professor, Lund University, Sweden

Maarten Pieter Schinkel   Bio  

Professor, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Martijn Snoep   Bio   

Chairman of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) 


Sustainability and competition 2020 Cover

Background note  •  French version

Detailed summary of the discussion

Executive Summary with key findings


Other related documents

Simon Holmes: Climate change and competition law

Maurits Dolmans: Sustainable Competition Law

The CNMC and Sustainability

BEUC: Consumers and the Transition to Sustainable Food

BIAC/ICC: Competition Policy and Environmental Sustainability


Contributions from delegations

Australia & New Zealand







Summaries of Contributions


oecd comp blog series

Blog #4 Sustainability and competition law: moving beyond the conflict narrative towards a structured debate
Experts views

Julian Nowag on his background note  

Simon Holmes on climate change and competition law

Gianni de Stefano on sustainability and the role of co-operation agreements

Maurits Dolmans discusses the challenges companies face when competing for the green transition

Maarten Pieter Schinkel explains why competition is the best way to promote sustainability

Ioannis Lianos on the role of competition authorities in promoting sustainability 

Suzanne Kingston and the reconciliation of competition and environmental policies in the EU 

Martijn Snoep and the Dutch draft guidelines on sustainable agreements



Competition policy and environment (1995) 

Environmental regulation and competition (2006)

Pro-active policies for green growth and the market economy (2010)

Horizontal agreements in the environmental context (2010)

Electricity: Renewables and smart grids (2010)

Competition issues in labour markets (2019)

Emission permits and competition (2011)


Better Policies for 2030: An OECD Action Plan on the Sustainable Development Goals (2016)

Competition Law and Responsible Business Conduct (2015)

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

More OECD work on competition



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