‘Green’ forms of finance are deemed increasingly important in mitigating climate change. Despite growing calls to make financial flows consistent with Paris Agreement goals, to date little is known about the impact of ‘green finance’. Drawing on literature which explores how resources are assembled for investment, this research shifts the focus from financial flows to financial pools. It does so through an examination of a green financial instrument, the Green Schuldschein, issued by a multinational dairy company. This paper argues that by analysing how low-carbon agriculture is assembled as a resource for investment, we can begin to understand why green finance pools in some places, but not in others, and the implications for climate change mitigation efforts. It demonstrates that flows of green finance in the agricultural sector are unlikely to pool in places where they can have the most significant climate impact, but rather in places where they remain distant from nature's unruly qualities. It highlights the importance of examining how sites and processes of landing are shaped by both the financial and the extraeconomic relations of the wider fields in which new ‘green’ financial instruments are situated. In doing so, the paper demonstrates how assemblage thinking can both provide nuanced critiques of the idea that we can 'green' finance, and diversify our understanding of how finance and agriculture intersect.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I would like to thank Allison Loconto, Scott Prudham and Steven Wolf for the opportunity to present an early version of this paper at the 2018 Summer Institute on Critical Studies of Environmental Governance, and the invaluable feedback I received there. In addition to the Summer Institute hosts & participants, I am also thankful to Harriet Bulkeley, Paul Langley, Gavin Bridge and other colleagues in Durham for their helpful and supportive feedback on various earlier drafts of this paper; and to Will Eadson for his proofreading & editing skills. Two anonymous reviewers also offered further supportive feedback that helped to improve this submission. Finally, I am indebted to my research participants for patiently and openly explaining the workings of green finance to me. This research was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme within the umbrella project REINVENT – Realising innovation in transitions for decarbonisation, under grant agreement 730053.
This research was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme within the umbrella project REINVENT – Realising innovation in transitions for decarbonisation, under grant agreement 730053.
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Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Human Geography
- Agrifood systems
- Climate governance
- Green finance
- Low-carbon investment
- Social studies of finance