Navigating Deep Transitions

Guiding a transformative system change

Deep Transitions is a groundbreaking interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at comprehending the emergence of unsustainable systems in our societies and exploring ways to dismantle them. The project comprises two distinct phases: Deep Transitions History and Deep Transitions Futures. It involves an unparalleled historical inquiry into how fundamental shifts occurred in the past and anticipates the future to guide these crucial drivers of change towards sustainability. Thus, Deep Transitions draws on the lessons of the past to shape a sustainable future.

To effectively address the ongoing crises and achieve a sustainability revolution, financial investments must shift towards transformative investment rather than system optimization. While Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment practices may yield positive results, they often do not result in fundamental transformations. Deep Transitions advocates for transformative investment as a novel approach that amplifies positive impact within multiple dynamic systems. This philosophy is the outcome of a 2-year collaboration between the Deep Transitions research team, comprising historians, sustainability transitions scholars, and futurists, and the Global Investors Panel, consisting of 16 public and private investors from across the globe.

Next step is the development of a Deep Transition Lab, that will seek to experiment with the transformative investment framework across the globe. The Lab will collaborate with several governments active in the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium.

One of the biggest challenges for sustainable finance is the risk that it satisfies itself with incremental change, while reproducing the harmful foundations of mainstream, or “unsustainable”, finance. For example, by failing to reorient its goals away from private profit maximization towards social and ecological flourishing.


  • Transformative Investment: Unleashing the power of capital to achieve the sustainability transition

    At present, impact investments primarily focus on mitigating the consequences of problems such as global warming. Yet, to effectively tackle the complex and interdependent issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality, and social unrest, we must address the underlying causes. Recently, a group of researchers and investors proposed a novel approach called Transformative Investment, which seeks to finance sustainable, long-term systemic change. This innovative strategy aims to facilitate a transition towards a more sustainable and equitable future. Read more

  • Deep Transitions launches Transformative Investment Philosophy for financing sustainability transition

    The Transformative Investment Philosophy was officially launched by the Deep Transitions research project on November 16th, 2022. This comprehensive report introduces new principles, tools, and metrics designed to support long-term systems change and facilitate a deep transition towards sustainability. At the launch event, the authors and contributors of the investment philosophy discussed its significance and outlined its main components and implications. Read more 

Meet our team:


For more information please contact the project assistant: Nicky Wunderlich,


We currently collaborate with both private and public investors, the former ranging from small family endowment offices and impact investors, to multi-billion-dollar pension and other funds (such as Baillie Gifford). We anticipate over the coming years to continue working with investors of all types, as well as engaging with a wider range of other partners, including social movements and firms. We’re starting up a project with Oxfam that looks at the relationship between investing and activism and social movements.