Academic article: The Emergence and Spread of Green Growth: A New Global Governance Field


Lau Øfjord Blaxekjær, University of the Faroe Islands, Email:

Working paper. Do not cite or quote without permission of author.


Through analysis of more than 1,000 sources summarising 379 identified green growth actors and their connections, this paper analyses the emergence and spread of the green growth field from 2005–2013. It is argued that field theory offers better concepts than dominant global environmental governance theories, because it moves the analysis beyond unresolved dichotomies of global/domestic, state/nonstate actors, and ideas/interests. It is demonstrated that green growth emerged in 2005 as a governance solution to Asian environmental, economic, and social challenges driven primarily by Korea and UNESCAP. It further spreads to become a global response to governance crises; financial crisis in 2008, and the UN climate negotiations crisis in 2009/2010. Korea and Denmark are centrally positioned actors initiating several new networks and governance units regulating the field. It is demonstrated that green growth governance is transscalar, multi-actor, and multiissue, which in turn challenges knowing when and if action is effective.

Keywords: Green growth, global environmental governance, field theory, strategic
action field

Lau Blaxekjær