Financing the Revolution? Paradoxical Success and Limitations of EU Sustainable Finance Reforms

Posted: 16 Jun 2021

See all articles by Hanna Ahlström

Hanna Ahlström

Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

David Monciardini

University of Milan

Date Written: June 15, 2021

Abstract

Our study follows the rapid emergence of sustainable finance reforms in the EU policy arena. During the decade 2009-2019, this has moved from being a peripheral issue to central stage. However, many are sceptical about the real impact of EU reforms, fearing a financialisation of sustainability is unable to address the sustainability challenges we are facing. Deploying a longitudinal approach, consisting of archival data and elite interviews, we highlight three phases in this policy debate, characterized by a shift in framing the relationship between sustainability and finance: initially conflictual, then complementary, and then again conflictual. Drawing on Yan, Ferraro and Almanoz (2019), our analysis suggests that this shift depends on the heterogeneous coalition of social constituencies supporting EU sustainable finance reforms and on shifts in the overall prevalence of the financial logic in society. Our article shed light on the inherent contradictions and limitations of sustainable finance as a means for transformative sustainability reforms. Implications for policy-makers and future research are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Ahlström, Hanna and Monciardini, David, Financing the Revolution? Paradoxical Success and Limitations of EU Sustainable Finance Reforms (June 15, 2021). University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2021-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3867156

Hanna Ahlström (Contact Author)

Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( email )

Lilla Frescativägen 4A
Stockholm, 11418
Sweden

David Monciardini

University of Milan ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

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