Fair Trade Advocacy Office Position Paper on EU Competition Law and Cooperation Agreements for Sustainability

We are happy to announce the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) Position Paper on EU Competition Law and Cooperation Agreements for Sustainability, prepared by our founder Ayse Gizem for the FTAO and published in June 2020.

The FTAO has long been part of the debate on competition law and sustainability along with a wide network of civil society organizations, academics, policy makers and other actors.

This paper clarifies the FTAO’s position and offers concrete policy recommendations to EU policy makers. The paper offers answers to some topical questions such as: Why is cooperation sometimes preferable to unilateral action? Why cooperation rather than legislation? How has EU Competition Policy become less sustainable? And most importantly, what is the way forward?

Climate Change, Sustainability and Competition Law

Here is a fantastic paper by our friend Simon Holmes (UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, Oxford, ClientEarth), recently published in the Oxford Journal of Antitrust Enforcement – and it’s open access! Simon had presented an earlier draft of this article last September at a We Are Competition event at Sciences Po in his (now legendary) Extinction Rebellion t-shirt.

Simon has said: ‘Some may see the timing as unfortunate as the Covid 19 crisis dominates our thoughts. However, this is also a time when I hope we are all more sensitive to what really matters in life and that applies to all aspects of our work including competition policy and the need to build a more sustainable future and fight the climate crisis with all available tools.’


Climate Change is an existential threat. Competition law must be part of the solution and not part of the problem. This article draws on the constitutional provisions of the EU treaties and remarks by leaders such as Commissioner Vestager to show how competition law need not stand in the way of urgent action and co-operation by the private sector to fight climate change. It also shows how sustainability is relevant to both the analysis of mergers and dominance cases. It is a call to update our thinking, our guidelines and, if necessary, our law. Based on EU law it contains ideas that could inspire changes in other jurisdictions.

Competition Law and Sustainability Conference – Call for Papers

We Are Competition is happy to announce its first conference on competition law and sustainability

In the context of a global system of production that is increasingly interconnected and exponentially exercising pressure on the planet and people’s lives, this conference is brought about by the desire to imagine a system of competition law (or beyond competition law) that is fully embedded in the double limit of the planetary boundaries and of social considerations, inspired by Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics” and elaborated by Tomaso Ferrando & Claudio Lombardi in “EU Competition Law and Sustainability in Food Systems: Addressing the Broken Links”.

If you are an early-career academic (master & PhD student or up to 4 years into tenure track) in social sciences and you care about sustainability, send us your abstract! The deadline is May 15th.

Power to the People: Enhancing Competition Law Enforcement in Indonesia Through Private Enforcement

On April 4th, We Are Competition hosted Muhammad Rifky Wicaksono, competition law lecturer at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia. He obtained the Magister Juris degree with Distinction from the University of Oxford as a Jardine-Oxford Scholar and he has recently been admitted to the LL.M. program at Harvard Law School.

Like many other developing countries, public enforcement through Indonesia’s Competition Authority (KPPU) has been the fulcrum of Indonesia’s competition law enforcement. However, they fail to provide effective judicial redress to victims of competition law infringement. Based on the foregoing, the presentation explored the normative justifications for including private enforcement to strengthen Indonesia’s antitrust enforcement efforts. Subsequently, Rifky made a comparative legal analysis between Indonesian and EU law to provide policy recommendations on how private enforcement can be regulated in Indonesia. 

This presentation was based on an article that Rifky co-authored, which was recently published in a leading comparative law journal in Asia. The paper can be accessed here.

Competition Law for a Complex Economy

On April 2nd, We Are Competition hosted Professor Ioannis Lianos (Chair of Global Competition Law and Public Policy at University College London Faculty of Laws) for a lecture, and Professor Frédéric Jenny (Chairman of the OECD Competition Committee) as the discussant on competition law for a complex economy.

The lecture explored the most significant changes brought about by the emergence of digitalisation from the perspective of competition law enforcement. These structural changes, some of which pre-date, to a certain extent, the beginning of the ‘digital revolution’, can be summarised as relating to three broader trends: futurity, personalisation and cybernetics. The speaker discussed the practical implications of these changes for competition law enforcement before making suggestions as to the direction of the development of competition law and policy in the era of ‘informational’ capitalism.

Key topics were tech platforms, agents’ changing role within platform-based ecosystems, prediction platforms and personalisation markets, winner-takes-most dynamics, vertical competition and value capture. Both panelists agreed in the end that the current competition law framework is not fit for the purpose.