7c. Economic and financial innovations for sustainability transitions

Track Chairs

Goals/ objectives and areas of the track

Human activities have changed our planet1,2. The industrial systems, land uses, and technologies that have brought such immense prosperity for a proportion of the global population have also depleted and damaged the natural resources and larger environmental processes that allow the planet’s rich diversity of life to flourish3. The social, economic, and technical paradigms that have driven the character and growth of modern civilisation are also eroding the capital base that allows it to exist4,5. The ‘green growth’ paradigm promotes adaptations of the global growth-oriented system yet the linked climate and biodiversity crises demand substantive transformations. Alternative economic approaches and paradigms have emerged at different scales that speak to emerging de-growth debates and seek to oppose or subvert the growth-driven capitalist paradigm6,7.

Governments and the private sector are grappling with the challenges involved in transforming industrial systems, energy generation, agriculture, transport, manufacturing, and other economic sectors to low-carbon, sustainable models of operation. These transformations require complex and fundamental changes not only to technological approaches, but to social and governance processes, financial systems, and the cultures and business models of commercial organisations. Examples of strategic tools and frameworks that are being applied to support financial and economic sustainability transitions include the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD), and the many taxonomies for sustainable finance – such as the European Union’s taxonomy for sustainable activities – that are being developed globally8–11. Examples of multi-stakeholder alliances and and commitments for sustainability transition include the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), the Paris-Aligned Investor Initiative, and the UN-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA).

This track is focused on the design, development, features, implementation, stakeholders, and impacts of financial and economic theories, frameworks, tools, alliances, and protocols applied to achieve sustainability transformations. We are keen to receive submissions exploring different perspectives on this theme.


  • Innovative conceptual frameworks to inform sustainable economic and business models through the lens of transition theories.
  • Commons, cooperatives, and new forms of commercial organizations.
  • Conceptual contributions that challenge the growth paradigm within the global capitalist system (including ideas of green, smart, post-, de- and qualitative growth) by offering effective alternatives.
  • Environmental justice-driven development, including pro-poor growth.


  • Case studies of business initiatives in decarbonization, business model transformation, and nature-based solutions.
  • Analysis of and reflections on policy approaches such as the European Union’s taxonomy on sustainable activities or the Australian Emission Reductions Fund.
  • Studies of how different business models can help achieve corporate climate, energy, and biodiversity sustainability goals.
  • Evidence of greenwashing in corporate actions, and responses to this.

In addition, we are interested in data-driven speculative submissions (including modeling, thought experiments, and scenarios) that consider how sustainable economic and business models and tools can be implemented to support inclusive and equitable development and growth.

Length and content of the proposed abstract to the track

This track facilitates an interdisciplinary discussion of the human-in-nature realms of sustainable development, focusing on poverty and inequality, and the relationships between these and environmental conditions, institutions and governance, and economic development and innovation. Robust studies incorporating quantitative methods are encouraged, as are inter- and transdisciplinary research methods and authorship, critical theoretical discussions, and innovative presentations.

Each submitted abstract should address topics related to these themes. Abstracts should be 300 to 500 words in length, and include:

a. Title, author/s, and affiliation/s.
b. Background, study methods, key findings or results, and implications.
c. A comment identifying the SDGs relevant to the paper.
d. A comment indicating how the proposed presentation relates to the conference theme “Half-way through Agenda 2030Assessing the 5Ps of SDG(people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership)
e. A comment describing the presentation approach, recognizing the online platform that will be used, and explaining the presenter’s approach and use of media.

Potential publication channels

With regard to potential publications, depending on the number and quality of contributions the following publication opportunities have already been envisaged:

  1. A Special Issue proposal to Sustainable Development (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10991719, IF 4.082), Sustainability (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability, IF 2.576), Ecological Economics (https://www.journals.elsevier.com/ecological-economics, IF 4.482), or other appropriate journals.
  2. A collaborative paper submission for Nature Sustainability (https://www.nature.com/natsustain/).
  3. Other outputs as proposed.


Please submit your abstract by visiting the Oxford Abstracts submission system (you will be required to set up an account first): https://app.oxfordabstracts.com/stages/5382/submitter


1.           Masson-Delmotte, V. et al. Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 3–32 https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009157896.001 (2021).

2.           Pörtner, H.-O. et al. Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Summary for Policy Makers. https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6wg2/pdf/IPCC_AR6_WGII_SummaryForPolicymakers.pdf (2022).

3.           Steffen, W. et al. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 115, 8252–8259 (2018).

4.           Schröder, E. & Storm, S. Economic Growth and Carbon Emissions: The Road to “Hothouse Earth” is Paved with Good Intentions. Int. J. Polit. Econ. 49, 153–173 (2020).

5.           Butler, C. D. Climate Change, Health and Existential Risks to Civilization: A Comprehensive Review (1989–2013). Int. J. Environ. Res. Public. Health 15, 2266 (2018).

6.           Lashitew, A. A. Corporate uptake of the Sustainable Development Goals: Mere greenwashing or an advent of institutional change? J. Int. Bus. Policy 4, 184–200 (2021).

7.           Schramade, W. Integrating ESG into valuation models and investment decisions: the value-driver adjustment approach. J. Sustain. Finance Invest. 6, 95–111 (2016).

8.           Siew, R. Y. J. A review of corporate sustainability reporting tools (SRTs). J. Environ. Manage. 164, 180–195 (2015).

9.           Siew, D. & Hillis, L. Corporate Climate Transition Plans: A guide to investor expectations. 38 https://igcc.org.au/investor-expectations-on-corporate-transition-plans/ (2022).

10.         University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Integrating climate and nature: The rationale for financial institutions. https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/resources/publications/integrating-climate-and-nature-rationale-financial-institutions (2022).

11.         Ameli, N., Drummond, P., Bisaro, A., Grubb, M. & Chenet, H. Climate finance and disclosure for institutional investors: why transparency is not enough. Clim. Change 160, 565–589 (2020).