Announcements and Calls

Call for Papers: Sustainability/Finance at the 4th Critical Finance Studies Conference










The 4th Critical Finance Studies Conference will be held at Essex Business School, University of Essex, 15-17 August 2012.

As part of the conference, Prof. Steffen Böhm will organise a stream on Sustainability / Finance. This stream calls for submissions that problematise the relationship between sustainability and finance in its broadest sense. We are also keen to explore ways in which finance can make a positive contribution to alternative, sustainable ways of living.

Deadline 15 April

Finance is arguably at the heart of what might be called the global capitalist economy, which is geared towards ever increasing growth of production and consumption. A whole host of critics and social movements have pointed to the unsustainable nature of this self-referential system, and particularly its negative environmental consequences. Specifically, financial service industries have been repeatedly accused of funding environmentally very damaging extractive industry projects (such an open pit mining, oil tar sands, etc.), contributing to the creation of speculative bubbles of commodity markets (e.g.  leading to higher basic food prices), and endangering the livelihood of indigenous and other communities (threatened by global industries invading their land, for example), to name but a few of the grievances that have been articulated.

We are seeking contributions that map, evaluate and expand such critiques of finance and its problematic relation to sustainability. On the other hand, however, finance increasingly likes to portray itself as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. The financial services industry has arguably made some efforts to positively contribute to issues such as climate change (e.g. through carbon disclosure), land grab and livelihoods in developing countries (e.g. through the Equator Principles) and environmental protection in more general terms (e.g. through the UN Global Compact). While some might accuse such initiatives of being ‘hot air’ or even ‘greenwash’, which often lack real power and impact, there are more concrete efforts to offer sustainable finance solutions, ranging from microfinance to carbon offsetting, from community finance to payments for environmental services. What should we make of this move of finance ‘going green’ and “ethical”? What empirical evidence is there to suggest that such finance approaches to solving environmental and social issues are actually working?

Overall, then, we encourage submissions that problematise the relationship between sustainability and finance in its broadest sense. We are not only interested in critiques of current finance approaches to sustainability, but particularly encourage studies of how groups and communities can use money and finance in novel ways to live more sustainable lives. We are hence keen to explore the ways in which finance can make a contribution to another possible world.

For more information, please see:
Abstracts and further inquiries should be sent to Prof. Böhm at
The deadline for an extended abstract (about 1000 words) is 15 April 2012. A review panel will announce their decision of acceptance within two weeks of the deadline. Accepted papers should be submitted in their final form by 1 July 2012.

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