Translating sustainable finance policy and principles into practice

Program Code: 
Description of Work: 

Financial institutions, and particularly those whose largely rural portfolios are highly exposed to climate change and the depletion of natural capital, are increasingly seeking to factor climate and sustainability risks into their investments. Translation of such high-level sustainable investment policies into practice, however, is reportedly slow. Anecdotal and some empirical evidence suggests that regional bank managers and land valuers continue to see non-agricultural land uses (e.g carbon and biodiversity offsets) as financial risks, and frequently refuse mortgagee consent to landholders who wish to engage in these opportunities.

This research would identify what factors may act as barriers to sustainable lending and investment in practice. The candidate will develop or build on existing networks within the finance and banking sector, initially in Australia, but there is scope for comparative work. Specific details and scope of the project would be developed by the student in collaboration with Dr Evans and other collaborators, and depending on the student’s background, interest and career aspirations. This work will complement and feed into a broader project examining investment in biodiversity and natural capital, and specifically in the agricultural and conservation sectors.

The ideal candidate would have or be willing to develop skills in social research methods, including semi-structured interviews, surveys, and content analysis. Some quantitative skills desirable. I particularly welcome candidates who have an academic or professional background in finance, agribusiness, or risk analysis.