Beyond the ‘tyranny of metrics’? Indicator literacy in sustainable finance

Ben Eyre, Oiara Bonilla, Marc Brightman, Stefan Voicu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sustainable finance ‘thought leaders’ call for metrics as the key to aligning investment with sustainability objectives and harnessing the market for ‘good’. In this article, we consider how measurement is used in sustainable finance through three case studies of financial instruments described as bonds (green, forest, and impact) and develop Sally Engle Merry's concept of ‘indicator literacy’ as a contribution to critical geographies of sustainable finance. Through ethnography, we explore how labelling financial products as sustainable (and therefore moral) increasingly relies on claims to achieve measurable outcomes and how attention to spatial and scalar dynamics illuminates what this leaves out.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie
Early online date16 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2024


  • sustainable finance
  • ESG
  • impact investing
  • business anthropology
  • sustainable business

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