Department of Management, Society and Communication

  • Centre for Sustainability
Dr.scient.adm & PhD

Room: DH.Ø.2.43
E-mail: kbu.msc@cbs.dk

Core expertise

My research and teaching focus on sustainability and responsible business conduct (RBC) with a particular emphasis on social issues, especially climate change mitigation, business responsibilities for human rights, and sustainable finance. Within these topics my research and expertise focus on, i.a.,

  • risk-based and human rights due diligence and its elements, in particular meaningful stakeholder engagement and access to substantive remedy
  • multi-stakeholder regulation and 'smart' regulation for sustainability;
  • fair transitions/socially responsible climate change mitigation;
  • non-financial reporting as a driver for organizational change for responsible business conduct;
  • identifying SDG opportunities through insights from risk-based due diligence;
  • institutional investors and responsible business conduct;
  • legislative developments on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence
  • the role of National Contact Points under OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
  • RBC in an Arctic setting;
  • Alternative conflict resolution and RBC

I approach these issues from the perspective of public governance and public-private regulation, analysing how public and private organisations do or can work together to address global concerns related to sustainable human development and how public-private collaboration add to and result from a transnationalisation of sustainability governance and diverse forms of soft and hard law and guidance as well as specific processes, in particular risk-based due diligence.

With a background in international and public law and a socio-legal leaning, I favour a pragmatic approach over a dogmatic approach to legal issues and apply methods and theories from the social sciences wide sense to understand normative developments and organizational integration.

Much of my research and teaching is inspired by a quest to deliver insights on theoretical and practical implementation perspectives for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, the Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


As the project leader/Principle Investigator (PI) for international research networking projects funded by Nordic, Arctic, Danish and private grants I am cultivating research on social and human rights aspects of natural resource exploration and exploitation in a comparative Global South and Arctic perspective. This research currently focuses on fair transitions, sustainable finance to support socially responsible transitions from a fossil-based economy, and public participation with meaningful stakeholder engagement in decision-making concerning natural resources, renewable energy projects, transitions minerals etc. The projects involve colleagues and institutions from around the Globe, thereby enriching the research with knowledge, experience and partners from areas in the circum-polar High North to regions in the Global South, China as well as Europe and non-Arctic areas in the Nordic countries.

Some of my other current research concerns non-financial reporting as a driver for internal organizational change to equip companies to understand and respond to external stakeholders’ demands and expectations in regard to their societal impacts; potential for companies to identify and address SDG-needs of local relevance by drawing on impact assessment processes they undertake to identify potential risks that they may cause to society; and what is required of companies in regard to human rights due diligence.

Past research projects includes the communicative and strategic evolution of the Business & Human Rights (BHR) regime, and sustainable forestry in East and South East Asia between law and the market (both funded by the Independent Danish Research Council).

In my research and networking I benefit from my previous work experience as an associate attorney in a law firm and as a civil servant in the Danish public administration, working with immigration issues under the Ministry of Justice and with human rights in development under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Danida.

Outreach and Networks (selected)

  • member for public organisations of the Board of Ethical Trade Denmark
  • member of the Board of the Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • former member of the Danish National Contact Point (NCP) to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2012 - 2022)
  • member of the Human Rights and SDG working groups under the Danish Global Compact Network
  • deputy CBS representative to the University of the Arctic (UArctic)
  • co-founder and chair of The BHRights Initiative for global interdisciplinary research and teaching on Business & Human Rights (established in March 2014 in the context of an Explanatory Workshop funded by the European Research Foundation)
  • co-founder and chair of the University of the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Sustainable Resources and Social Responsibility (TN ASRSR)
  • co-founder and chair of a global research network on socially responsible transitions initiated at CBS in December 2018: GREEN-SORT - Global Research and Engagement Network for Socially Responsible Transitions

Recent blog posts:

Languages (teaching and supervision): Danish (mother tongue), English

Primary research areas
  • Fair transitions, globally and in the Arctic
  • Business & Human Rights (BHR)
  • Responsible business conduct (RBC), corporate social responsibility (CSR), governance and public-private regulation
  • Sustainable finance (with an emphasis on human rights and climate change)
  • Non-financial reporting as a regulatory strategy
  • Transnational law and sustainability governance and Transnational Business Governance
  • Development and law (esp. East Asia)
Curriculum Vitae
Social media
Link to this homepage
I am responsible for and/or teach at these courses:
  • Business & Human Rights: Governance, SDGs and Fair Transitions (anchored at the Department of Management, Society and Communication, CBS)
  • I co-teach at other courses on CSR and/sustainability at CBS
  • Fair transitions
  • Business & Human Rights
  • Transnational sustainability governance
  • Sustainable natural resource sourcing
  • International labour standards and working conditions

Supervisor of award-winning student theses/projects, including the 'Best BLC BA thesis' June 2023; interdisciplinary master’s thesis awarded the 2020 RelationsPeople Prize; 'Best IBP BA project' June 2018.

Other teaching activities

Previous teaching includes: Stakeholder analysis (Roskilde University); International Labour law and Corporate Social Responsibility (University of Copenhagen);  International Labour Law at Elite Master in Management, Economics & Law (CBS & University of Copenhagen); Human Rights & International Development (University of Copenhagen); CSR in China (as Visiting Lecturer at the Global Governance Centre at Konincklijcke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Selected publications

Click on the title of the article or the direct link to find the open access version.

Karin Buhmann (2023) Addressing a human rights paradox in the green transition: Guidance for invested mining operations to benefit local communities. Journal of Cleaner Production, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2023.137903 (open access)

Karin Buhmann (2023) Confronting challenges to substantive remedy for victims: Opportunities for OECD NCPs under a due diligence regime involving civil liability. Business and Human Rights Journal, https://doi.org/10.1017/bhj.2023.9 (open access).

Buhmann, K (2021) Institutional investors and climate justice: The role of investors in advancing prevention of human rights abuse in investment chains for fossil-free energy. In Volker Mauerhofer (ed) Governance, Law and Sustainability (Routledge): 222-236                    

Buhmann, K. (2020) Is mandatory non-financial reporting an effective regulatory strategy for advancing responsible business conduct? Observations on human and labour rights reporting in Denmark 2008-2018. International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal 14(3) 55-79

Buhmann, K. (2020) Meaningful stakeholder engagement as an aspect of risk-based due diligence between the economy, politics and law: the constitutive role of the Business & Human Rights regime. In Johnstone, Rachael L. and Anne Merrild (eds) Regulation of Extractive Industries: Community Engagement in the Arctic (Routledge): 78-98

Buhmann, K, Mark B. Taylor & Elisa Giuliani (2019) Business and Human Rights in global value chains (editorial). Competition and Change, 23(4), available online: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1024529419865668

Buhmann, K. (2018) Power, Procedure, Participation and Legitimacy in Global Sustainability Norms: A Theory of Collaborative Regulation. London: Routledge 2018

Buhmann, K., Jonas Jonsson & Mette Fisker (2019) Do no harm and do more good too: Connecting Business & and Human Rights theory with Political CSR to help companies identify opportunities for contributing to the SDGs. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 19(3) 389-403 https://doi.org/10.1108/CG-01-2018-0030

Buhmann, K. (2018) Chinese Mineral Sourcing Interests & Greenland’s Potential as a Source of ‘Conflict-Free Minerals’. In: Arctic Yearbook 2018: Special Section: China & the Arctic. ed. /Ane Bislev; Ulrik Pram; Jesper Willaing Zeuthen. Akureyri : Northern Research Forum 2018, p. 84-101 (Arctic Yearbook, No. 7)

Buhmann, K. (2018) Analysing OECD National Contact Point Statements for Guidance on Human Rights Due Diligence: Method, Findings and Outlook. In: Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2018, p. 390-410

Buhmann, K. (2018) Neglecting the Proactive Aspect of Human Rights Due Diligence?: A Critical Appraisal of the EU's Non-Financial Reporting Directive as a Pillar One Avenue for Promoting Pillar Two Action. In: Business and Human Rights Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2018, p. 23-45

Publications sorted by:
Karin Buhmann / Accountability in the EU for Corporate Human Rights and Environmental Harm : A Tale of Two Systems or Potential for Complementary Twinning?.
In: European Business Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 3/4, 2024, p. 429-452
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann; Jingjing Wu / Comparing Regulatory Responses to the Climate and Covid-19 Crises : A Social-systems Theory-informed Method for Inquiry.
In: Retfærd: Nordisk Juridisk Tidsskrift, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2024, p. 27-39
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation and Social Impact Assessment
In: The Routledge Handbook of Polar Law. ed. /Yoshifumi Tanaka; Rachael Johnstone; Vibe Ulfbeck. Abingdon : Routledge 2024, p. 564-571
Book chapter > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Addressing a Human Rights Paradox in the Green Transition : Guidance for Invested Mining Operations to Benefit Local Communities.
In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 419, 9.2023
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Confronting Challenges to Substantive Remedy for Victims : Opportunities for OECD National Contact Points under a Due Diligence Regime Involving Civil Liability.
In: Business and Human Rights Journal, Vol. 8, No. 3, 10.2023, p. 403-426
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Corporate Sustainability and Climate Change
In: Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. ed. /Deborah C Poff; Alex C. Michalos. Cham : Springer 2023, p. 472–478
Encyclopedia chapter > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Human Rights and Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement
In: Encyclopedia of Stakeholder Management. ed. /Jacob Dahl Rendtorff; Maria Bonnafous-Boucher. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar Publishing 2023, p. 150-155 (Elgar Encyclopedias in Business and Management series)
Encyclopedia chapter > peer review
Rachael Lorna Johnstone; Karin Buhmann / Megaprojects on Ice : Lessons From the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Project for a Just Transition.
In: The Polar Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2023, p. 240-263
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / UN Guiding Principles and Transnational Business Governance
In: Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. ed. /Deborah C Poff; Alex C. Michalos. Cham : Springer 2023, p. 1801–1806
Encyclopedia chapter
Karin Buhmann / Human Rights : A Key Idea for Business and Society.
Abingdon : Routledge 2022, 254 p. (Key Ideas in Business and Management)
Book > peer review
More results... (total 155 results)
Research Projects
Outside activities

Name of contractual partner

Duration of the activity

The type of activity

Ethical Trade Denmark










Board member, representing CBS


Substitute Board member, representing CBS

The Danish Institute for Human Rights 


Member of the Board

Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark 2020-2021
Professor (20%), Sustainability Law and Governance

Denmark’s National Contact Point (NCP) for Responsible Business Conduct set up under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (‘Mæglings- og Klageinstitutionen for Ansvarlig Virksomhedsadfærd)


Member of the Institution (tasks: raising awareness of the OECD Guidelines; handling complaints of violations of the Guidelines

Danish Business Authority

November-December 2020

Study on mandatory due diligence on human rights and the environment