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The Next Big Thing: Green Digital Finance

My newest book comes out in June.

The theme is the integration of finance, technology and ESG. It’s a subject that has been in the ascendancy for years, but became in vogue in the late 2010s. Now it is a thing. I worry some will therefore think I only came to think about it in 2022 when, in reality, I’ve been blogging about it since the 2000’s, and thinking about it since the 1990’s.

Nevertheless, it is now front and centre to not just talk about sustainability and ESG (environmental, sustainable and governance) things, but to deliver them. After all, according to BBVA, sustainable economics will create new opportunities worth $12 trillion a year by 2030. Their perspective is that, “through technologies such as advanced data analytics, blockchain or artificial intelligence, fintech can help companies to evaluate and reduce their environmental impact, and investors to channel their operations towards more sustainable assets”.

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), recently stated that:“FinTech has great potential to be a force for good. We can bring together the power of finance and technology, to help create a more inclusive society and a more sustainable planet.”

I could go on (and on and on and on) but, in the spirit of showing it is not just words but actions, here is a non-exhaustive list of Green FinTech solutions that have crossed my desk over the past few months (sorry if I missed yours out … let me know what you’re doing):

Åland Index Solutions – a partnership between Ålandsbanken of Finland and Doconomy – has created a cloud-based index service for calculating CO2 emissions for payments and financial transactions that is offered as a white label to any bank around the world, and is currently used by over 100 million people.

Almond encourage their users to support a carbon-balanced lifestyle by enabling them to look for eco-friendly alternatives; avoid unsustainable products and services; calculate their carbon footprint and receive offsetting rewards which are spent on planting trees and protecting the rainforest; all within their app.

Aspiration, an LA-based green banking start-up, are planting more trees than there are in New York’s Central Park every day, as a result of their initiatives.

Bunq is responsible for planting three million trees on behalf of its customers (a tree is planted for every €100 spent) and, as part of its green crusade, has a series of eco-friendly subscription plans that its users can sign up for.

Clim8, a sustainable investing app, enables the consumer to invest savings into causes that are revolutionising access to clean energy, water, sustainable food and more.

Cooler Future has created a way to finance green initiatives and make money for investors.

Doconomy is a digital bank that aims to change behavioural patterns towards a more green future.

Joro is helping eco-minded individuals make more informed choices every time they use their card to shop through smart spending analytics that give users insights about how their purchases contribute towards carbon emissions.

Meniga’s Carbon Insight enables banks to create highly appealing digital experiences and launch new green products.

Miris has established something called the Green Finance Framework for selecting, tracking, and reporting the flows of funds in various financial projects based upon the Green Bond Principles (GBP) created by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).

Moneybox has launched a Socially Responsible Pension aimed at creating a fossil-fuel-free portfolio for its eco-conscious users.

Oxbury bank recently launched a Forest Saver savings account where the FSCS-protected accounts allow the interest earned to be used to fund tree-planting projects.

PensionBee launched its fossil fuel free investment plan in 2020, which is intended to cease the financing of oil, gas, coal, and tobacco businesses and the manufacturers of weapons.

Provenance, a supply chain transparency start-up, recently completed a pilot using Blockchain technology to track responsible sourcing of tuna in Indonesia.

Starling Bank operates on renewable energy and was the first UK bank to launch debit cards made from recycled plastic, is a member of the Tech Zero taskforce to cut carbon emissions and plant trees to reduce and prevent deforestation.

Stripe launched Stripe Climate to let all businesses do their part in making the planet more climate neutral.

Sugi is a fintech whose sole purpose is to make users more aware of how environmentally friendly their investment portfolios are.

Tandem Bank is on a mission to provide fairer and greener financial choices for the UK, providing £230 million of green lending,  as well as financing 12,000 tonnes in CO2 reductions in 2021.

Tred launched the first green debit card in the UK made of recycled plastic, which tracks your carbon footprint every time you buy something and shows it in the app.

TreeCard is a fintech startup that strives to reduce plastic and to reforest the Earth, making their debit and credit cards out of recycled plastic bottles and sustainably sourced cherry wood whilst investing 80% of its profits in reforestation projects.

Treelion has a blockchain-based solution that brings a decentralised network services to launch and manage green digital products of all kinds.

Trine offers customers to a profit based upon making a social and environmental impact through solar energy, whereby 12,000 Trine investors have allowed more than 2.5 million people to have access to electricity because of the money invested.

Triodos Bank only finances sustainable businesses and publishes the info with full transparency so that all stakeholders can see how their money helps to stop the climate catastrophe, as their research shows that ethical options one of their investors’ key demands.

 

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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