Policy experts and global investors come together to develop the financial footprint for building a net zero future


Policy academics and international investors, in our sister project – Deep Transitions , are coming together to develop a model for the finance sector fit for a net zero world in a new initiative launched by the University of Sussex Business School and Utrecht University.

The Global Investors Panel for Transformative Investment will work to develop a blueprint for a transformative investment strategy which places sustainability and socio-technical system change at its core and which forges new investment paths to sustainable goods, services and societies.

The panel has been formed to tackle one of the thorniest issues of climate change mitigation, sustainable finance – one of the key themes for the upcoming climate summit COP 26 – being hosted by the UK this November.

The expert panel has been formed as part of Deep Transitions Futures project – a collaboration between the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex Business School and the Utrecht University’s Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe). The research team and panel seek to create guiding principles for the unprecedented levels of public and private investment that are required to transform the unsustainable systems that societies are currently built upon. This Transformative Investment (TI) manifesto aims to act as a beacon for sustainable finance and investing into the future.

The global virtual launch for the initiative takes place on Wednesday 15 September from 2pm (CEST) where key members of the project will outline the ambitions for how a transformative investment philosophy can set the world on the path to improved green recovery and sustainable development.

Based on sector-leading insights, developed by the Deep Transitions research team, led at the University of Sussex by Ed Steinmueller, Professor of Information & Communication Technology Policy at the University of Sussex Business School, the panel also draws on the expertise of internationally renowned finance experts including former Baillie Gifford investment manager and early backer of Tesla, James Anderson, who is also funding the project.

The Deep Transitions Futures Global Investors Panel for Transformative Investment is the brain-child of eminent scholar Johan Schot, Professor of Global History and Sustainability Transitions at Utrecht University.

A diverse range of pension fund investors, asset managers and impact fund managers, working with research teams from across disciplines including Sustainability Transitions, business strategy, management and innovation, make-up the panel which will explore how potential sustainable worlds may look 60 years from now. The future alternative worlds that are created will direct the guiding principles defined in the Transformative Investment (TI) philosophy for sustainability.

Professor Ed Steinmueller from the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex Business School and lead for the project at the University of Sussex said:

“By giving insight into conceivable future worlds, that offer the prospect of greater environmental sustainability and social justice, we can help indicate the pathway through for public and private investment. In 60 years from now, these new worlds will be marked by fundamental changes in our key systems of food, mobility and energy. The importance of the Deep Transitions theory and method is to examine the nature of this system change towards alternative configurations of the world. We must level-up global inequalities and mitigate the devastating effects of the climate emergency.  The Deep Transitions Global Investors Panel is what happens when universities take an impactful role in society with action-research that co-produces knowledge and strategy with key sectors to leverage the investment, innovation and sustainable development that the world urgently requires.”

Johan Schot, Professor of Global History and Sustainability Transitions at the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges and founder of the Deep Transitions Futures Global Investors Panel, said:

This panel is a unique and much needed form of global collective action to address the Sustainable Development Goals. The collaboration bridges research and finance to bring together investors from across the public and private divide.  The panel, and the subsequent Transformative Investment manifesto, will deliver ideas and action for a sustainable redirection of our economies and societies. We are thrilled to be launching it!”

Professor Steven McGuire, Dean of the University of Sussex Business School at the University of Sussex said:

“It is crucial that universities work with the investment and finance sector to use the cutting-edge knowledge and research on sustainability to affect real-world practice in changing our current trajectory to help propel us towards rapid decarbonisation and transition to a sustainable world. The investment sector is pivotal.  With the formation of the Deep Transitions Futures Global Investors Panel, we will see how shifts in investment and capital towards new markets, technologies and social innovations will deliver a greener economy.”