Capitalizing on Green Debt

A World-Ecology Analysis of Green Bonds in the Brazilian Forestry Sector

  • Tomaso Ferrando University of Antwerp
  • Gabriela De Oliveira Junqueira University of São Paulo
  • Marcela Vecchione-Gonçalves Federal University of Pará
  • Iagê Miola Federal University of São Paulo
  • Flávio Marques Prol The Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning
  • Hector Herrera University of Antwerp
Keywords: green economy, green bonds, financialization of nature, forestry industry, world-ecology


Green bonds represent an increasingly popular way to match “environmental sustainability,” growth, and the aspirations of global financial capital. In this article, we leverage a world-ecology approach to unpack and make sense of green bonds as public/private constructions that shape and subordinate the complex ecologies of territories to the needs of finance and reproduce the global patterns of uneven development and capitalist accumulation. Through the study of recent green bond issuances realized by private companies active in the forestry sector in Brazil, we discuss how green bonds as a “new” form of “green” debt put nature at work and transform the territories and natural elements in the global south into “temporal and spatial fixes” for the needs of global financial capital.

Author Biographies

Tomaso Ferrando, University of Antwerp

Tomaso Ferrando (he/him) is a Research Professor at the Faculty of Law (Law and Development Research Group) and the Institute of Development Policy at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). He holds a PhD in law from Sciences Po University (Paris) and has been visiting fellow at the Institute of Global Law and Policy (Harvard Law School), and visiting scholar at the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Cape Town. He researches the link between law and food systems, with particular attention to the implications in terms of food justice, along with the socio-legal-financial construction of Green Bonds as a new/old form of financing that combines the instrument of debt with the desire of building “sustainable” and “green” futures.

Gabriela De Oliveira Junqueira, University of São Paulo

Gabriela de Oliveira Junqueira is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo.

Marcela Vecchione-Gonçalves, Federal University of Pará

Marcela Vecchione-Gonçalves (she/her) is an Associate Professor at the Centre of Advanced Amazonian Studies at the Federal University of the State of Pará (NAEA-UFPA), Brazil. She holds a postdoctoral research position at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB) at the University of Antwerp (2021-2023), Belgium, as a member of the project Environmental Policy Instruments across Commodity Chains (EPICC).

Iagê Miola, Federal University of São Paulo

Iagê Miola is a law professor at the Department of Law of the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) and a researcher at the Law and Democracy Nucleus of the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (Cebrap). He holds PhD in Law and Society from the University of Milan, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the New York University (NYU), Department of Sociology.

Flávio Marques Prol, The Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning

Flávio Marques Prol holds a PhD and Master of Laws from the University of Sao Paulo. He is currently a researcher at the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (Cebrap). He was Fox Fellow at Yale University (2013-14) and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School (2016-17).

Hector Herrera, University of Antwerp

Hector Herrera is a PhD student at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB) at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) where he researches Green City Bonds from the perspective of climate and water justice.


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How to Cite
Ferrando, T., De Oliveira Junqueira, G., Vecchione-Gonçalves, M., Miola, I., Marques Prol, F., & Herrera, H. (2021). Capitalizing on Green Debt: A World-Ecology Analysis of Green Bonds in the Brazilian Forestry Sector . Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(2), 410-438.
Research Articles