Emergent Sustainability in a Scandinavian Bank

Authors: Matthew Archer*, Copenhagen Business School
Topics: Economic Geography, Environment, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: sustainability, finance, financialization, sustainable finance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8217, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How are social and environmental risks conceptualized, evaluated, and valorized within financial institutions? How is "sustainability" narrated both within and outside these organizations, especially in the context of socio-ecological crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss, wealth and income inequalities, etc.? This paper draws on ongoing research conducted with employees across different departments within a large Scandinavian bank, primarily the ESG team, but also wealth managers, investment analysts, portfolio managers, and group level executives, as well as regulators, academics, and journalists. These interviews, combined with brief periods of participant observation, will help untangle the moral and political economies of crisis and risk that ground financial capitalism. More specifically, through an examination of the bank’s deployment of sustainable finance as a way of responding, in part, to growing suspicion of large financial institutions in Scandinavia, I hope to better understand the relationship between natural, social, and financial capital in a rapidly financializing world.

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