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The ESDN Quarterly Reports provide in-depth documentation of a selected topic on a quarterly basis. The current ESDN Quarterly Report is displayed below. For previous ESDN Quarterly Reports click here.

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ESDN Quarterly Report December 2012

The Financial Sector and Sustainable Development:
Logics, principles and actors

by Umberto Pisano, André Martinuzzi & Bernulf Bruckner

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) offers insight into the relationships, linkages, and differences between the financial sector and sustainable development. Although we recognise the vastness of the task, which is mainly caused by the complexity of the financial sector, we try to provide an explanatory journey and a fertile environment for further reflections and discussions, especially where linkages and differences with sustainable development are portrayed. Despite this complexity, this QR tries to communicate the main financial notions in a language that is as simple as possible, with the intention of avoiding an overload of technicalities. The QR does not aim to be exhaustive, but should uncover those links that are particularly relevant for sustainable development and SD governance. The report is based on the Discussion Paper of the 8th ESDN Workshop, which it expands in all chapters that are also informed by the debates at the workshop and additional desk research.

The QR is structured into four main sections: an introduction, two main chapters, and a conclusive section. At the end, a reference list and two annexes are also provided. The brief introduction is a short overview, outlining the essential points that are touched upon throughout the Quarterly Report. In the first chapter, the objective is to describe the main features of the financial sector, its logic, its actors, and its main institutions, also reflecting upon its linkages with the real economy. The second chapter then introduces the concept of sustainable development and describes the so-called sustainable development principles that help to operationalize such a concept. The main differences with the financial sector are, therefore, analysed together with possible ways of intervention in order to close the gaps between them. Special attention is then attributed to the potentials to enable sustainable development financing. Finally, some conclusions are drawn at the end of the report where we also propose reflections and points for discussion. In the course of writing this report, we developed a Framework for Sustainable Development and the financial sector where we defined six SD principles and compared them with the logic of the financial sector (please see page 27). In Annex I, we provide a Glossary with the most important terms and concepts around the financial sector that should help readers with short and precise explanations. Two interviews with Professor Stefania Rossi (University of Cagliari, Italy) and Alexander Welzl (senior researcher at Economica, Austria) about recent developments in the financial sector and links to sustainable development can be found at the end of the report in Annex II and III.

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