The financial sector and environmental sustainability solutions

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Session chairs:
Dr Lára Jóhannsdóttir, Assistant Professor, University of Iceland
Dr Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir, Professor, University of Iceland

This document outlines the Call for Papers (Abstract submission is now closed) for presentations to be delivered within a session titled The financial sector and environmental sustainability solutions”, which will be held within the Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption Conference: Accelerating the Transition to Equitable, Sustainable Post-Fossil-Carbon Societies”, to be held in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 1 – 4, 2015 (www.cleanerproductionconference.com).

Scope and Rationale

Climate change poses direct and indirect impacts for the finance sector. The insurance sector has been recognized as vulnerable to more frequent and/or more severe weather events and consequently it is vulnerable to giant economic losses. Risks may also be transformed to financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies and pension funds, through investment and loan agreements. At the same time the financial sector can be a part of the solutions for insurers by offering insurance solutions for clean technologies, through loss prevention activities, and by handling claims in a sustainable manner. Both banks and insurance companies are risk management experts, but such expertise is also of great importance when mitigating risks. Additionally, the financial sector, as a whole, has a vital role to play as a major capital provider and as an institutional investor. For these reasons, and because of the fact that the financial sector is one of the largest sectors in the world, it is critical to discuss its roles in the Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption Conference.

The objective of this session is to discuss the role of the financial sector in accelerating the transition towards sustainable and equitable post-fossil carbon societies by discussing the solutions the financial sector has to offer or could have to offer if they rethought their visions and missions. This workshop will provide participants the opportunity to explore and assess the roles of different types of financial institutions in offering environmental sustainability solutions that will help accelerate transitions towards truly sustainable societies.

We solicit papers associated the following indicative themes. The themes and questions are only provisional and were designed to guide the authors for the themes that they may wish to co-explore with others in the workshop.

  1. Roadmap financial institutions may take to become more sustainable in the context of climate change and consequent social-political-economic-ecological dimensions.
    • What strategies, methods, indicators, data, requirements, standards, etc. are currently used by financial institutions to address sustainability issues? What new approaches should they be taking? Why?
    • How does the financial sector contribute to solving sustainability issues? How should it be doing more to catalyze the needed transitions?
  2. Actions financial institutions take or should take to influence actions of various stakeholders
    • Do financial institutions (banks, insurance companies or pension funds) offer solutions to help accelerate transitions towards sustainable societies?
    • What actions do financial institutions take to influence actions of various stakeholders to address sustainability issues?
    • Who are the critical stakeholders that financial institutions can or should seek to influence?
  3. Drivers behind sustainability actions of financial institutions
    • What driver are most important in influencing sustainability actions of financial institutions?
  4. Barriers hindering actions of financial institutions in  accelerate transitions towards sustainable societies
    • What are the most critical barriers in hindering sustainability actions of financial institutions?
  5. Measurable outcomes of sustainable actions of financial institutions
    • Can financial institutions demonstrate positive financial, ecological, ethical outcomes of their sustainability actions?
  6. Roles financial institutions have in stakeholder divesting
    • What roles could financial institution have with the increasing numbers of stakeholders divesting their funds from fossil fuel based investments and re-investing them in renewable energy-based systems and energy efficiency improvement systems?

Format and Procedures for Submission of Responses to this Call for Papers:

Companies are invited to prepare and submit abstracts, in English, of 500 words by May 29th, 2015 via the Global Conference website: www.cleanerproductionconference.com.

After your extended abstract has been reviewed you will be invited to develop a conference paper on the topic. After the Global Conference, some articles will be selected to be developed for potential publication within one of several Special Volumes of the JCLP that will be developed based upon inputs to the Conference.

For more information contact:
Assistant Professor Lára Jóhannsdóttir
Environment and Natural Resources, School of Business University of Iceland, laraj@hi.is.

Professor Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir
Environment and Natural Resources,
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, bdavids@hi.is

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