The digital and green transitions: twins in tension

Thursday 26 Sep 2024, 09:00 - Friday 27 Sep 2024, 17:00
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Erasmus School of Law

Digitalisation and climate change have sparked, on their own, two enormously disruptive processes: the digital and the green transitions, often referred to as the “twins” transitions. 


At the EU level, these two transitions have been accompanied by hectic legislative activity. On the digitalisation side, recent (proposals for) regulations include the Digital Markets Act, the Digital Service Act, the Data Governance Act, the Data Act, the Artificial Intelligence Act, and the proposal for Common European Data Spaces. This expansive regulatory turn arguably responds to the demands, challenges, and opportunities that digitalisation presents, for example in terms of competitiveness and economic growth. Data, in particular, which was initially regulated from a privacy and data protection perspective (most notably the General Data Protection Regulation), is now the subject of several regulatory measures and proposals to boost economic growth through data sharing, quality data (pools), interoperability, and cybersecurity. 

On the side of the green transition, new legislative instruments have been recently adopted (e.g., European Climate Law). The need to protect the environment and face climate change is leading legislators, scholars, and courts to consider and (re-)assess the activities of private actors under the lenses of environmental law (e.g., the proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, the decision of the Court of Aja, 26 May 2021, Shell, under appeal, and the pending case Greenpeace Italy et. Al. v. ENI S.p.A. et al.). 

Against this backdrop, the workshop aims at exploring the interplay between the different bodies of the law enabling these twin transitions, with a particular focus on the following three overarching questions: 

  1. The relation between the legal underpinning and normative foundations of both transitions: is it possible to reconcile the paradigms of growth embedded in the digital transition with those of environmental protection and sustainability supporting the green transition? Or are the two logics behind them simply too different to complement each other? 
  2. The growing importance of data in the economy poses the question of the environmental impact of data processing activities. Is the current framework of data law and governance sufficiently equipped to deal with this problem, or do we need a new (theoretical) framework that accounts for the benefits and harms arising from the environmental impact of digital technologies, in general, and data, more specifically? 
  3. At the EU level, several proposals have been advanced to use data-driven technologies to enhance the capacity to understand and solve environmental challenges (e.g. in the Green New Deal and the prospective Common European Green Deal Data Space). What are the opportunities, challenges and pitfalls of using digital and data-driven technologies to address the environmental problems of our time? 

We welcome submissions (max. 500 words, excluding footnotes and bibliographical references) using all types of approaches and methodologies exploring any of the foregoing questions. 

Submission Guidelines

If you are interested in contributing, kindly submit your abstract to indicating author name(s), affiliation, and contact information by May 31. The workshop will take place on the 26 and 27 of September at Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

Successful applicants will be informed by June 15 and will be asked to submit a paper (between 5000 to 8000 words) by September 10. 

Publication Opportunity

Selected papers will be invited for a post-conference publication project. Details will be shared during the event.

Registration and funding

There are (limited) funds available to cover travel and accommodation costs. Please indicate in your submission whether you would require funding to attend the workshop.

Important Dates

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: [May 31, 2024]
  • Notification of Acceptance: [June 15, 2024]
  • Paper submission [September 10, 2024]
  • Workshop Date: 26-27 of September
More information

Contact Information

For inquiries and submission of abstracts, please contact the organising committee at

Organising Committee

Dr. Enrique Santamaría Echeverría (Erasmus School of Law) and Dr. Chiara Angiolini (University of Siena)

We look forward to your contributions!

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