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The ascent of green crime: Exploring the nexus between the net zero transition and organized crime

Young, Mary; Adkins, Deborah

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Mary Young
Associate Professor in Law


This editorial highlights a fundamental gap in the existing literature base whereby the climate crisis is largely missing from journals covering all aspects of finance - including those that cover financial crime (for a wider discussion, see Stern, 2021). Specifically, in relation to financial crime and clean energy, there is no known research on net-zero emissions goals and the proceeds of crime. Although Williams (2013), highlights that carbon trading schemes (whereby companies and countries look to offset emissions), are vulnerable to money laundering practices due to the similarities of such schemes with traditional financial markets, the authors of this editorial widen the argument to encompass the potential of organized crime groups to profit from proposed incentives and policies to support decarbonisation. For example, proposed policies in the United Kingdom (UK) to encourage deployment of low-carbon heating systems such as the ‘home upgrades grant,’ ‘social housing decarbonisation fund’ and ‘clean heat grant’. In 2022, as the world seeks to rapidly decarbonise and wean itself off fossil fuels, the authors recognise the immense potential benefits for economic enterprise, new business models, solutions, and innovations. However, as will be shown in this brief discussion piece, the legitimate industries, which are linked to future-proofing the world from climate change and thus improving the wellbeing of all societies at the international level, risk being undermined by organized crime groups.

Journal Article Type Editorial
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2022
Online Publication Date May 24, 2022
Publication Date May 24, 2022
Deposit Date May 30, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2022
Journal Journal of Financial Crime
Print ISSN 1359-0790
Electronic ISSN 1758-7239
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 789-791
Public URL
Publisher URL


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