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


Policy academics and international investors 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 that 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 the 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 14:00 (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 brainchild 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 that 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.”




Notes for Editors

Deep Transitions: Backed by James Anderson previously of Baillie Gifford, Deep Transitions is an innovative interdisciplinary research project that looks at altering how the unsustainable systems our societies are built on emerged, and how they can be unmade. The project consists of two phases: Deep Transitions History and Deep Transitions Futures. It combines an unprecedented historical analysis of how fundamental changes unfolded in the past to change the future. Deep Transitions Futures Global Investors Panel looks to create an investment manifesto to forge a path out of the climate crisis. This is termed Transformative Investment (TI). The Deep Transitions Research project is part of the University of Sussex Business School in the UK and Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges in the Netherlands.


About the University of Sussex: The University of Sussex was the first of the new wave of UK universities founded in the 1960s, receiving its Royal Charter in August 1961. It is among the leading research universities in the UK, with 98 per cent of its research rated as world leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised (REF 2014).


About the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU): With 55 years of experience, SPRU is internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading centres of research on science, technology and innovation policy and management.


About the University of Sussex Business School is a top-ranking global school, Top 10 in the UK for Business and Economics (THE World University Rankings 2021) and 3rd in the UK for annual research income (Chartered Association of Business Schools). It is a member of the Chartered Association of Business Schools and a Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner. The School is a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Management Education and is recognized as a pioneering institution by the Responsible Research in Business and Management network. Established in 2009, the School brought together the world renowned Science Policy Research Unit with the Department of Economics, already a global leader in development economics. The School offers a range of business, management, finance, accounting and marketing degrees across five departments, and houses the UK Trade Policy Observatory and the Digital Futures at Work Centre.


About Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe): UGlobe is a Centre that seeks to address in transformative ways those global challenges that intersect human rights, conflict & security, sustainability, and equity. UGlobe does this by encouraging a global perspective at Utrecht University (UU), by collaborating closely with UU’s Strategic Themes and Focus Areas and through working with societal partners from around the world. UGlobe’s collaborations involve ambitious experimental flagship projects, like Deep Transitions, that integrate research, education and impact. For more information about the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges, visit: www.uu.nl/en/organisation/centre-for-global-challenges and connect with UGlobe via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.