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Sustainable banking and finance: people - the financial sector and the future of the planet

Coulson, A.B. (2003) Sustainable banking and finance: people - the financial sector and the future of the planet. [Review]

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Abstract

Marcel Jeucken has been heralded as the first to provide a comprehensive and accessible book on the subject of sustainable finance and banking. As a practitioner in Rabobank and a doctoral researcher at Erasmus University, Jeucken is able to draw on personal experience to provide an accessible yet intellectually challenging book. The stated target audience of the book is banking practitioners and policy makers followed by academics. For an academic audience it offers for debate both empirical insight and conceptual thoughts on shifts in the traditional economic foundations of banking. The book is set out in three parts. Each part and subsequent chapter is very well sign-posted. Part 1 (Sustainability: a general introduction) is likely to be of most interest to the Futures readership. It includes a comprehensive review of recent environmental policy developments and environmental consciousness as a basis for outlining Jeucken's vision of the future role of banks in pursuing sustainable (economic) development. In Part 2 (Banking and Sustainability) he illustrates examples of bank products and operations currently applied in pursuit of sustainable development as a basis for moving forward. Part 3 (In reflections) add to this insight with the results of a survey of sustainable banking drawn from public disclosures made by 34 international banks. The book ends with some thoughts on the future of banking. In this respect, the author's stated aim is not to provide definitive answers but to stimulate thinking and bridge the gap between philosophical and practical solutions. To this ambition he is true.