Joakim Sandberg


Philosophy and Logic
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Joakim Sandberg

Joakim Sandberg is professor of practical philosophy and director of the Financial Ethics Research Group at University of Gothenburg. He is also vice director of the Sustainable Finance Lab which is a collaboration between several Swedish universities and companies, as well as work package leader in Mistra FinBio which is an international research project.

Joakim does research in the intersections between moral and political philosophy and studies in business and economics. Much of his recent work has focused on how to get financial institutions such as banks and pension funds to take a stronger responsibility for the societal and environmental effects of their activities. But he is also interested in the individual case, that is, to what extent consumers like you and me have a duty to buy more responsible and sustainable goods and services.

Joakim was previously research leader in sustainable markets at Stockholm School of Economics (2015-2018) and professor of economics and finance from a humanist perspective at University of Groningen, the Netherlands (2018-2023).


Joakim has a background in both philosophy and business / economics. He received his Ph.D. in practical philosophy in 2008, based on a thesis addressing ethical issues concerning financial investments. One of these was to what extent investors – both institutional and individual – are morally “tainted” by their investments in morally problematic companies, such as weapons producers or companies that employ child labour. Joakim’s contribution to this debate was widely debated in the Swedish media (see e.g.Sveriges Radio, Jusek, Dagens Industri, Sydsvenskan).

Joakim was subsequently involved in the research program Sustainable Investment Research Platform (SIRP) funded by the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra). Here he studied whether the fiduciary duties of financial institutions – that is, their legal responsibilities to their clients – may be an obstacle to their taking greater social and environmental concern. This research has received much international attention, for example by the UN and the EU. Joakim is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty which includes contributions from dozens of highly regarded academics and professionals plus a foreword from Al Gore.

Joakim later ran an interdisciplinary research project with environmental psychologists at University of Gothenburg. The project sought to understand the general public’s attitudes towards responsible investment practices and found exceptionally high support for social and environmental concerns. The project was funded by the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management at University of Toronto (Canada).

Joakim has also done research on microfinance, that is, the extension of bank services to people in desperate poverty. As part of the AHRC Research Network on Microfinance, funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, he addressed the moral and political aspects of exorbitant interest rates on microloans. Since 2009, Joakim is also an Associate Researcher at the Centre for European Research in Microfinance in Brussels.

Together with Bengt Brülde, Joakim has published a popular book on ethical consumerism and fair trade (in Swedish). The book is called Hur bör vi handla? Filosofiska tankar om rättvisemärkt, vegetariskt & ekologiskt. All of the proceeds go to charities that are particularly effective in combating world poverty, animal cruelty and climate change. Due to his work with this book, among other things, Joakim received the Albert Wallin Science Prize in 2012 from the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg.

Joakim was guest researcher at Stockholm School of Economics in 2013-2015 and one of the founders of the Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum), where he also was research leader 2015-2018. The center explores interdisciplinary research questions that aim to make markets more sustainable and responsible. The research is carried out in close collaboration with stakeholders such as corporations, NGOs, governments and international agencies.

Joakim was selected as Wallenberg Academy Fellow by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2014. This is an initiative for young elite researchers who are given long-term resources to conduct their research together with a research group. The financial support from the Wallenberg foundations allowed Joakim to start a larger research group outlined below.

Joakim was also appointed as Professor of Economics and Finance from a Humanist Perspective at University of Groningen, the Netherlands. During 2018-2023 he contributed to creating an interdisciplinary research exchange between Gothenburg and Groningen in this area.

Current research

Joakim is nowadays director of the Financial Ethics Research Group at University of Gothenburg. The group runs several research projects in the intersection between ethics, politics and economics. During the first years the focus was primarily on the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and what lessons it can and should teach us. Other projects have concerned modern forms of money such as cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies. Over the last years, a growing part of the research portfolio has come to concern the role of financial markets in relation to the climate transition and other sustainability concerns.

Since 2021, Joakim is also vice director of the Sustainable Finance Lab which is a collaboration between several Swedish universities and companies.The purpose of the collaboration is to develop theoretical and practical tools that help to transform financial markets and to enhance the sustainable development of society. He is also work package leader in Mistra FinBio which is an international research program seeking to bolster financial markets' positive contribution to biodiversity.

Joakim runs a blog about Finance and Philosophy.