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Governing for growth: standards, emergent markets and the lenient zone of qualification for green bonds

Perkins, Richard (2021) Governing for growth: standards, emergent markets and the lenient zone of qualification for green bonds. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111 (7). 2044 - 2061. ISSN 1467-8306

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Identification Number: 10.1080/24694452.2021.1874866


This article seeks to provide a critical perspective on the roles and effects of standards in governing new markets for sustainability. Departing from a narrow, technocratic interpretation of standards as tools to differentiate within existing markets, we examine the work of standards in configuring and enacting a specific type of environmental market, which we term growth-oriented. Through a case study of one such market for green bonds, the article shows how standards have been strategically enrolled to perform three key roles within an overall operative of growth: (1) codifying and solidifying a dominant conception of the product category, (2) protecting green bonds from stigmatizing iterations, and (3) constructing a lenient zone of qualification. Our work advances on the existing literature by offering a more power-sensitive and spatially explicit conceptualization of environmental standards. It also provides novel theorization of how growth-oriented articulations of the green economy are rendered economic by bringing “just about enough” information, assurance, and promises of green into the market frame. We conclude by reflecting on some of the tensions involved in market-based projects by revealing how the imperative for growth through categorical leniency runs the risk of environmental considerations being subordinated.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 by American Association of Geographers
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2020 13:30
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:56

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