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Johannes Lundberg

PhD Student

Johannes Lundberg

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In broad terms, my PhD research investigates the role of financial capitalism in mitigating/aggravating the climate crisis. More particularly, I analyze the way finance theories have affected Danish pension funds’ climate-related investment decisions. By now, various studies have documented that the specific economic interests of fossil fuel companies have led them to a highly successful lobbyism to delay climate regulations. As the power of capitalism is sliding from owners of means of production towards owners of means of finance, investors now have a critical role in influencing the fossil industry.

Against this backdrop, the investigation takes up a double task: Partly, I try to identify a logic of an ‘investment dispositive’ (i.e., a tendency transversing different types of techniques, theories, practices, and documents). I trace the investment dispositive in finance theories concerning ‘agency theory,’ ‘modern portfolio theory,’ and the legal concept of ‘prudent person,’ which all indicate tendencies to define investors’ responsibility as profit maximization, to highlight risk management, to delimit active ownership, and to neglect environmental consequences of investments.

And partly, I trace how and to what degree the investment dispositive has translated into textbooks, laws, and investment models and practices, focusing on how this has shaped investment decisions of Danish pension funds. The analysis of Danish pension funds partly examines how and to what degree the investment dispositive hinders Danish pension funds in implementing investment policies aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement. And partly how and to what degree co-determination in pension funds gives a stronger voice and concrete political influence to pension savers’ climate concerns compared to commercial and state-owned pension funds.

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