Department of Management, Society and Communication

  • CBS Sustainability
Professor with special responsibilities
Dr.scient.adm & PhD

Room: DH.Ø.2.34
E-mail: kbu.msc@cbs.dk

Core expertise

My research and teaching focus on sustainability with a particular emphasis on social issues, especially business responsibilities for human rights, labour standards, and social aspects of corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability (including social aspects of environmental sustainability and climate change, for example living conditions, health, access to food and land);

  • risk-based and human rights due diligence and its elements;
  • multi-stakeholder regulation and 'smart' regulation for sustainability;
  • socially responsible green transitions;
  • responsible business conduct in an Arctic setting;
  • non-financial reporting as a driver for organizational change for responsible business conduct;
  • identifying SDG opportunities through insights from risk-based due diligence:
  • institutional investorsand responsible business conduct;
  • the role of National Contact Points under OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

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 social risk-based due diligence. With a background in international and public law and a socio-legal leaning, I take a pragmatic approach to these issues, applying methods and theories from the social sciences 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 for international research networking projects funded by Nordic, Arctic and Danish 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 socially responsible transitions from a fossil-based economy, and public participation in decicion-making concerning natural resources. With my colleagues in networks within these projects we consider the roles and impacts on affected stakeholders (typically local communities, small-scale farmers and artisanal miners) and how to include their interests in decision-making processes. My research interest also includes the role of institutional investors in this regard.

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 of the Danish National Contact Point under OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (in Danish ‘Mæglings- og klageinstitutionen for ansvarlig virksomhedsadfærd’)
  • member of the Board of the Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • member of the Human Rights Impact Assessment working group under the Danish Initiative for Ethical Trade (DIEH)
  • member of the Human Rights and SDG working groups under the Danish Global Compact Network
  • involved in CBS’s collaboration with the OECD as a ‘knowledge partner’
  • 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
  • Business & Human Rights
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), governance and public-private regulation
  • Sustainable natural resource sourcing, governance and certification
  • 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:

  • Introduction to Sustainable Business (anchored at the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, CBS)
  • Business & Human Rights: Governance, Leadership and Management (anchored at the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, CBS)
  • Business Responsibilities for Human Rights (anchored at the Department for Business & Politics, CBS)
  • I co-teach at other courses on CSR and/sustainability, including:
    Scandinavian Sustainability & CSR (anchored at the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, CBS, taught with Professor Jeremy Moon)
  • Business & Human Rights
  • Social Responsibility/Corporate Social Responsibility (especially normative issues; regulatory strategies; standards and certification; private, public and public-private schemes)
  • Sustainable human development
  • Transnational sustainability governance
  • Transnational Business governance
  • Sustainable natural resource sourcing
  • International labour standards and working conditions
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 each acticle to find the link to open access.

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 (2018) Do No Harm and Do More Good Too: Connecting the SDGs with Business and Human Rights and Political CSR Theory. In: Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, 5.11.2018

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) Social Transformation and Normative Change Through CSR Standards?: China's Engagement with International Labour Law in Domestic Guidance for the Textile Sector. In: NAVEIÑ REET: Nordic Journal of Law and Social Research, Vol. 7, 2018, p. 19-33

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

Buhmann, K. (2017) Changing Sustainability Norms through Communication Processes: The Emergence of the Business and Human Rights Regime as Transnational Law. Northampton : Edward Elgar Publishing 2017 (e-book accessible through the CBS library)

Buhmann, K. (2015) Business and Human Rights: Understanding the UN Guiding Principles from the perspective of Transnational Business Governance Interactions. Transnational Legal Theory 6(1) 399-434

Buhmann, K. (2011) Reflexive Regulation of CSR to Promote Sustainability : Understanding EU Public-private Regulation on CSR through the Case of Human Rights. International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal, Vol. 8 No. 2: 38-76

Buhmann, K (2009) Regulating Corporate Social and Human Rights Responsibilities at the UN plane: Institutionalising new forms of law and law-making approaches?  Nordic Journal of International Law 78(1) 1-52

Publications sorted by:
Karin Buhmann / Institutional Investors and Climate Justice : The Role of Investors in Advancing Prevention of Human Rights Abuse in Investment Chains for Fossil-free Energy.
In: The Role of Law in Governing Sustainability. ed. /Volker Mauerhofer. Abingdon : Routledge 2021, p. 222-136 (Routledge/ISDRS Series in Sustainable Development Research)
Book chapter > peer review
Karin Buhmann / UN Guiding Principles and Transnational Business Governance
In: Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics: Living Edition. . ed. /Deborah C Poff; Alex C. Michalos. Cham : Springer 2021
Encyclopedia chapter
Karin Buhmann / Virker lovpligtig CSR-rapportering som offentligretlig reguleringsstrategi? : En analyse af danske virksomheders ikke-finansielle redegørelser om menneske og arbejdsrettigheder 2008-2018.
In: Juristen, Vol. 103, No. 3, 2021, p. 127-142
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Business, Human Rights, and Reflexive Regulation : Multi-stakeholder Development of Standards for Responsible Business Conduct.
In: Handbook of Business Legitimacy: Responsibility, Ethics and Society. . ed. /Jacob Dahl Rendtorff. Cham : Springer 2020, p. 509-523
Book chapter > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Collaborative Regulation : Preventing Regulatory Capture in Multi-stakeholder Processes for Developing Norms for Sustainability Conduct.
In: Sustainability and Law: General and Specific Aspects. . ed. /Volker Mauerhofer; Daniela Rupo; Lara Tarquinio. : Springer 2020, p. 295-318
Book chapter > peer review
Karin Buhmann; Roxana Olivera / Human Rights and Social Media Platforms : The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Regard to Privacy Infringements Involving Photo Posting.
In: Australian Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 26, No. 1, 4.2020, p. 124-141
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / 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.
In: International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3, 2020
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement as an Aspect of Risk-based Due Diligence between the Economy, Politics and Law : The Constitutive Role of the Business and Human Rights Regime.
In: Regulation of Extractive Industries: Community Engagement in the Arctic. . ed. /Rachael Lorna Johnstone; Anne Merrild Hansen. Abingdon : Routledge 2020, p. 78-98 (Routledge Research in Polar Law)
Book chapter > peer review
Peter Koerver Schmidt; Karin Buhmann / Taxation, General Anti-Avoidance Rules and Corporate Social Responsibility
In: FIRE Journal: UCPH Fiscal Relations Law Journal, No. 2, 2020
Journal article > peer review
Karin Buhmann / Teaching Business and Human Rights : Past Approaches, Present State of the Art, and Opportunities for the Future.
In: The SAGE Handbook of Responsible Management Learning and Education. ed. /Dirk C. Moosmayer; Oliver Laasch; Carole Parkes; Kenneth G. Brown. London : SAGE Publications 2020, p. 226-242
Book chapter > peer review
More results... (total 142 results)
Research Projects
Outside activities

Name of contractual partner

Duration of the activity

The type of activity

The Danish Institute for Human Rights 


Member of the Board

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

Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark 2020-2021 Professor (20%), Sustainability Law and Governance
Danish Business Authority November-Dececember 2020 Study on mandatory due diligence on human rights and the environment