COMMUNICATING SUSTAINABLE FINANCE
Together with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, I will research the role of the news media for sustainable finance.
How do European journalists think about sustainable finance? How do European (financial) media report about the topic? And how can we engage the broader public to become sustainable financial actors?
Although "sustainable finance" is enjoying great interest in politics and the financial sector more recently, the general European public remains fairly uninformed about what "sustainable finance" actually means. However, to bring about a broader societal and economic change, European citizens need to become more engaged and empowered with regard to sustainable finance.
Coming from a communication science background, I argue that sustainable finance needs to become an integral part of today’s narrative in (financial) news media. By means of a two years Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, financed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, I will research together with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, at the University of Oxford, the role of the news media for communicating sustainable finance to the European public.
NEWS CONSTRUCTION PROCESSES
The first study is an interview study among (financial) journalists from leading news outlets in Europe to assess news construction processes about stories dealing with sustainable finance. How do (financial) journalists think about the topic? Who or what are their sources when it comes to sustainability in the financial sector? How does news about sustainable finance come about? And how do journalists perceive their role in reporting about a sustainable economic system, vis-à-vis the audience?
The second study is a content analysis of news articles dealing with sustainable finance. To do so, we will collect news stories from leading (financial) news outlets in Europe from 2007-2008 (Global Financial Crisis) up until now. Using both automated and manual content analyses, we will be able to identify the main actors, stakeholders, institutions, frames/themes, sentiment and arguments that have surrounded the news media discussions about sustainable finance in the past decade.
The third study will be a triangulation study in which we will combine focus groups with a survey-experiment. We will first talk with various groups of European citizens to find out about the prevalent attitudes, opinions and possible motivations to engage with sustainable finance practices. In the second step, we will use this information to create an online survey experiment in which we will test the effect of various news frames to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change with regard to sustainable finance (e.g., likeliness to switch to a sustainable bank or invest ethically).
During the course of the research project, I will regularly report about the research process and the findings on my blog!
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement
FINANCIAL & SUSTAINABLE LITERACY
Promoting financial literacy and knowledge about sustainable behaviour is one of the main drivers of my research endeavour. I will therefore engage in diverse outreach activities to bridge the gap between academia and practice.
For example, I will work together with the Bildungswerk der Hessischen Wirtschaft e.V. to develop a workshop for pupils, apprentices and students to learn about financial sustainability and how to live in a more resource-efficient economy.
If you are interested in working together with me or you think the topic could be of interest for you and your organisation (corporate, educational, NGO, etc.), please feel free to contact me!