1. The Role of the News Media for Sustainable Finance

Facing the looming climate crisis and therewith increasing financial and physical risks, “sustainable finance” has become a buzzword in the financial sector and the political sphere (e.g., EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance). Financial experts, activists and policy makers argue that by channeling more capital and investments into sustainable companies and projects, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved more quickly and we would be able to limit global temperature rises well below 2°C, according to the Paris agreement. However, not only does the broader public remains fairly uninformed about what “sustainable finance” actually means and how to integrate such practices in their own financial behavior, the financial industry is also increasingly being criticized of greenwashing in that area. Hence, to bring about broader societal and economic change, citizens need to become more empowered with regard to sustainable finance while, at the same time, the financial sector needs to be hold accountable for fraud and untrustworthy behavior.

Building upon Prof. Strauß’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (University of Oxford), the research group will continue to research the role of the news media for communicating sustainable finance to the broader public. The following questions are at the core of this research project:

  • How can sustainable finance be better/more effectively communicated to (private) investors and citizens?
  • How is sustainable finance represented and covered in the news media? And what should be done differently?
  • What role do journalists play with regard to the narrative of sustainable finance (e.g., watchdog role/exposing greenwashing)?
  • What effect does news coverage about sustainable finance have on (private) investors and citizens?
  • How can we make (private) investors and citizens more aware of sustainable investments, ethical/green banking and greenwashing?

2. Sustainable Finance Networks & News Coverage

Together with FC4S (Financial Centres for Sustainability, a UNEP and UNDP-backed network organization), Prof. Strauß will research the interrelationships of (global) sustainable finance networks and their coverage in the news media. Expanding on a previous study by UNEP and FC4S (, we will enlarge the network analysis to a global scale and additionally analyze the media appearances and coverage of these networks in the international financial news media.