Reparative accumulation? Financial risk and investment across socio-environmental crises

Dan Cohen, Sara Nelson, Emily Rosenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


With the growing global recognition that environmental and social crises are pushing systems of social and ecological reproduction to their breaking points, governments, philanthropists, and the private sector are proposing a variety of strategies that aim to shift the social and environmental role of finance capital from an extractive process to a reparative one. A frequent refrain is that only finance capital promises the scale of investment necessary to address Earth’s complex social and environmental problems, and that trillions of private investment dollars wait in the wings ready to mobilize for the right kinds of projects. A hallmark of these approaches is their promise of “triple bottom line” outcomes, with social, environmental, and financial benefits—what the industry refers to as “responsible investing.” This symposium interrogates the political dynamics and financial mechanisms underlying ongoing experiments in so-called responsible finance, including various forms of impact investing and financial “solutionism” to social and environmental problems. We develop the term “reparative accumulation” to conceptualize the divergent forms and continuities in how these new financial devices function across sectors, what types of futures the industry is attempting to create, the effects on socionatures, and what resistance might look like both within and outside these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2356-2382
Number of pages27
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Development
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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