Green, Alternative, or Business as Usual? Critical Geographies of Sustainable Finance

Responding to the need for sustainable development and investment (Brand 2012, Ostrom 2009, Truffer et al. 2015) and against the backdrop of the current greening hype in the financial industry (Hicks 2020, In et al. 2020, Lange et al. 2022), we invite contributions that critically assess motivations, drivers and effects of the economies’ and regions’ alleged transition towards what is commonly perceived as sustainability. Observations suggest that despite the transformative imperative of sustainability, the consequential practices of innovative financial activities – often designed in and performed through international financial centres (IFCs) – have developed a strong agency in defending the status quo, including the generation of profit above all. We therefore also encourage the submission of papers that critically engage with potential structural dissonances as a result from financial market evolution, which may hence hamper the rigid guidelines of sustainable finance. Papers can be both of conceptual and empirical character. This includes invitations to analyse the impact of ESG taxonomies on financial investment practices, to assess local implications of ‘green’ financing, to scrutinize the emergence of social/alternative banking, as well as to identify and discuss the specific challenges related to decarbonisation and de-growth strategies, to suggest but a few themes. The geographical scale and scope can vary and may encompass, for example, reorganisation approaches of regional development trajectories, global interdependencies between finance, sustainable economies and local communities, but also single, in-depth firm case studies.