EU’s sustainability capitalism and the financing of transition to climate neutrality

Over the past few years, the EU has introduced an array of regulatory measures greening the EU’s financial sector. By increasing transparency, nudging financial actors in the green direction and improving banks’ ESG risk management, this “sustainable turn” is to channel private capital to sustainable investments, thus accelerating the EU’s transition to climate neutrality. However, the neoclassical economic approach underpinning the regulatory design holds little predictive power given the complex political economy of transition financing. Adopting a legal institutionalist approach, the paper addresses this shortcoming by exploring the hybridity inherent in the EU’s sustainable finance turn and discussing how such regulation alters an array of claim relationships in financial markets. In so doing, it seeks to assess whether the EU’s efforts can be successful in anticipating a “net zero” future.