Financial Innovation (FinTech) and Sustainability: New Tools for Sustainable Achievements

Call for papers for: Qualitative Research in Financial Markets

The submission portal for this special issue will open on 1st October 2021

Guest Editors:

Enrico Battisti, University of Turin (Italy) – Leading guest editor
Michael Christofi, Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
Niccolò Nirino, University of Turin (Italy)

Aims and scope

In recent years, sustainable finance and related investments strategies played an increasingly central role in debates among scholars and practitioners (Cillo et al., 2019; Nirino et al., 2021). One of the most widely accepted definitions of sustainable investing is the one adopted by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) which states: “Sustainable investing is an investment approach that considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in portfolio selection and management […] GSIA uses an inclusive definition of sustainable investing, without drawing distinctions between this and related terms such as responsible investing and socially responsible investing. These are collectively referred to as sustainable investing or SRI”. Indeed, as underlined by Fatemi and Fooladi (2013) corporate finance must go beyond the classic objective of maximizing shareholder value, trying to incorporate ESG factors into investment choices by evaluating costs and benefits towards a new concept of finance (SRI). The scientific community agrees that implementing within company’s strategies choices related to environmental and social responsibility (CSR) issues lead to many benefits for all stakeholders (e.g., higher performance, less risk etc.) (El Ghoul et al., 2011; Nirino et al., 2019). However, the implementation and evaluation of these investments within businesses is complex and highly debated among scholars and practitioners.

Continuing, institutions operating in the finance sector undergo a major transformational change; first, they began the process of trying to change their value creation objectives interconnected with ESG principles, and; second, they are currently evolving into a new era through the use of technological innovations. In respect to this, the term “FinTech” has begun to enter the technical language indicating a technological approach to finance issues in order to increase the innovation process inside and outside companies (Pushmann, 2017). In particular, FinTech can lead to new opportunities, decrease costs, increase transparency and allow people to be closer to the dynamics of companies (Zavolokina et al., 2016). For instance, the banking and payments sector is currently undergoing the biggest technological change in recent years (Hornuf et al., 2020). From this point of view, numerous "FinTech" start-ups are emerging, thus, changing the competitive context and increasing the development of technological innovations that focus on achieving sustainable objectives. Furthermore, financial innovation leads to changes in existing companies (e.g., structural, product and services, processes, strategies, etc.) through the implementation of FinTech solutions, such as: blockchain, crowdfunding, big data and green bonds (Pushmann, 2017; Nofer et al., 2017; Battisti et al., 2019; Simatele and Damlini, 2019; Vrontis et al., 2020; Tang and Zhang, 2020).

However, the potential benefits that FinTech can bring to sustainability aspects needs further and a more in depth analysis (Houdaefi, 2020). Based on the above discussion, we call for papers related to FinTech associated with sustainable finance. In this special issue we accept papers from different epistemological, theoretical and methodological backgrounds, with more emphasis on qualitative analysis approaches, following the aim and scope of “Qualitative Research in Financial Markets”.

Specifically, the Special Issue seeks contributions that will help in a better understanding of the relationship between innovation and sustainable finance and we aim to receive papers that explore new contexts of analysis leading to important theoretical, managerial and policymakers’ contributions. Papers considered for the Special Issue must address a real-world sustainability question within the context of financial markets. Purely theoretical papers (e.g. theory-based review; framework-based reviews; methodology-based reviews; framework and theory development reviews; bibliometric analysis; meta-analysis; morphological analysis) are welcome, as well as empirical papers that contribute to theory and practice using in a qualitative approach (e.g., interviews, focus group, etc.). However, papers of high quality and originality, which also use quantitative methods (e.g., time lag studies, longitudinal studies, surveys, cross-national comparative studies, case studies) will be carefully evaluated by Guest Editors on the basis of the contributions they bring to the research area.

Main topics

The guest editors invite contributions that address themes such as – but not limited to – the following:

•           Sustainability and FinTech

•           Sustainability and PropTech

•           Sustainability and blockchain

•           Sustainability and big data

•           Sustainability and crowdfunding

•           Sustainability and financial performance

•           Sustainability and green bonds

•           Sustainability and startups, global startups, green startups

•           Sustainability, ESG practices and innovation

•           Sustainable investments and performance

•           Sustainable investments and extraordinary financial transactions (such as mergers,
            acquisitions, consolidations, de-mergers)

•           Sustainable finance and behavioral approaches 

•           Sustainability and microcredit

•           Sustainable finance and Islamic finance.

Submission Information

Papers for the special issue should be submitted through the QRFM submission system ( and will undergo a double-blind review process. Submissions for the special issue will be open between 1 October 2021 and
31 January 2022. Provisional publication date: Late 2022.

For further information, please contact Enrico Battisti ([email protected])


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