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Transformative Greenstreaming: Greening Non-Environmental Law

About the Project:

This project’s overarching objective is to conceptualize and operationalize ‘Transformative Greenstreaming’ as a new legal approach for holistic environmental governance in the Anthropocene. There is a growing consensus that the cross-cutting nature of contemporary environmental problems such as climate change requires cross-sectoral solutions. Yet, current legal responses are largely contained to the specialized, segregated, and fragmented sphere of environmental law (EL) while failing to sufficiently mobilize other areas of non-environmental law (non-EL). This project focusses on the underexplored role and underexploited potential of non-EL, and investigates how it can be harnessed to advance a fuller realization of environmental objectives. In doing so, this project responds to increasing (yet often vague) calls for ‘greening’ the law, understood here as a gradual process of institutional, procedural, and substantive transformations aimed at making the legal system fit for environmental governance. To facilitate the transformative process of greening non-EL, this project puts forth the novel legal approach of ‘greenstreaming’ – the mainstreaming of environmental concerns throughout the law.


The project consists of two parts and four subprojects. Part I develops the conceptual framework in the abstract (‘Framing Greenstreaming’), while part II deals with its concrete applications (‘Doing Greenstreaming’). In part I, subproject (A) will systematize the different roles and types of non-EL and, on that basis, define and differentiate a targeted greening agenda. Subproject (B) will conceptualize greenstreaming as a legal approach, based on a conceptual comparison with environmental, gender, and human rights mainstreaming, and will identify key actors and instruments of greenstreaming. In part II, the conceptual framework will then be applied, concretized, and operationalized in different legal contexts. Subproject (C) focusses on three legal settings that are of particular import to the realization of environmental objectives: human rights-based environmental litigation, international trade and investment law, and agricultural and food law. In subproject (D), the project will culminate in the broad-scale application of the Transformative Greenstreaming approach across a wide range of legal fields and jurisdictions, in collaboration with external experts from different backgrounds.


This project is broadly situated at the intersection of (Swiss and comparative) public, international, and environmental law. It adopts a dual, international and national (public) law perspective, and seeks to strike a sensible balance between theoretical-conceptual and context-specific legal analyses. In order to devise and apply the Transformative Greenstreaming approach, this project works with conceptual, comparative, doctrinal, and normative legal methods that are enriched by interdisciplinary perspectives and the external expertise of collaborators.


This project makes an important, original, and topical contribution to the well-studied field of EL by taking the underdeveloped road of non-EL. By fostering a dialogue and bridging the ‘translational gap’ between the traditionally separated spaces of EL and non-EL, this project takes a crucial step towards integrated environmental governance in law. The potentially universalizable greenstreaming approach signposts a practicable and polycentric path for green legal evolution rather than revolution, and may be expected to facilitate the fuller realization of environmental objectives in and through law.

Postdoctoral Researcher



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