In this theme, finance and capital markets are studied and linked to the latest research on planet Earth as a system. With this combination, there are new opportunities for a progressive social development in conjunction with the dynamics of the biosphere. This is uncharted terrain in research with an enormous development potential.

Research will be conducted that can help:

  • Leverage the power of the financial sector for biosphere integrity and climate stability;
  • Re-orient large-scale investment strategies for the benefit of both human and biosphere health

Current projects:

The ambition of the Earth System Finance project is to bring new science-based perspectives to current discussions about the role of finance for sustainability, with a particular focus on the role of its connections to “Earth system tipping elements”. The project identifies, maps out, and visualizes how global financial flows underpin large-scale modifications in the world’s ecosystems with repercussions for the stability of the Earth’s climate system.

  • Tax havens, international financial flows and global sustainability

This work explores how offshore jurisdictions subsidise environmental degradation and reduce transparency at a scale that has implications for the resilience of the Earth system.

  • Human-biosphere interactions and financial crises

  • Financial Dimensions of a key climate system “Wild Card”: The Atmospheric Brown Cloud over South Asia

The Financial Dimensions of a key climate system “Wild Card”: The Atmospheric Brown Cloud over South Asia project focuses on exploring links between the formation of the brown cloud to specific black carbon emission activities. The Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) over South Asia is created by a range of airborne particles and pollutants from combustion, biomass burning and various industrial processes. The air-pollution (i.e. black carbon particles in the case of this research) has a significant effect on the climate change at large as well as on the health of local population and the biosphere. The project aims to link the process of the black carbon emissions to the finance sector relying on a combination of detailed information sources from several emission inventories. Furthermore, the analysis will examine value chains of economic sectors which are major contributors to the creation of ABC and examine corporate ownership and debt to understand the financial actors and flows underpinning key emitting sectors.

This project is led by researchers from Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere (GEDB) Programme, Stockholm Resilience Center, and Bolin Centre’s Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES). It also includes participants from the University of Saint Andrews, and will work in close collaboration with key Indian academic partners (currently under development).

The research on sleeping financial giants aims to bring new science-based perspectives to current discussions about the role of finance for sustainability. A particular focus lies on how banks, pension funds and other institutional investors influence critical elements in the Earth’s climate and ecosystems