Move your money? Sustainability transitions in regimes and practices in the UK retail banking sector

Gill Seyfang, Amber Gilbert-Squires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


We present and test a new conceptual framework for understanding sustainable transitions in co-evolutionary sociotechnical systems. We apply this in the first study of sustainable transitions in UK retail banking. This system has suffered recently from banking crises, and links to environmentally-sensitive industries such as fossil fuels. Sustainability-focused values-based banks are a potential solution, but have had little impact on mainstream banking systems. We aim to understand the constraints on a potential transition and how to overcome them. Our new approach identifies the intersections between transitions in regimes (using the multi-level perspective MLP) and transitions in practices (using social practice theory SPT), two competing conceptual frameworks in the literature. We ask: what are the intersections between transitions in the banking regime and banking practices, and how may critical points of constraint be unlocked to become points of opportunity, thereby aiding a transition to more sustainable banking systems? We present new empirical findings from a mixed-method case study of the UK banking sector and two values-based banks in particular. Interventions for growing sustainable banking are identified and we demonstrate the added-value of the combined approach through indicating strategies for unlocking the transformative potential of sustainable innovations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-235
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Economics
Early online date11 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • sociotechnical transitions
  • sustainable banking
  • ethical banking
  • social practices
  • innovation niches
  • multi-level perspective
  • niche-building
  • values-based banking

Cite this