The global pandemic has arguably done more for environmental, social and governance (ESG) awareness than it did for digital adoption. A dual health and economic crisis, in which the fate of individuals was dependent on how other people behaved, created a heightened sense of togetherness. Banks realised that only by helping customers survive the crisis could they help themselves repair balance sheets.
Listed below are the key technology trends impacting the ESG performance, as identified by GlobalData.
Banks and technology vendors are re-purposing digital money management (DMM) capabilities to optimise financial wellness goals and ESG impact.
Companies are increasingly offering climate change impact insights and tools that track and measure the CO2 emissions associated with their purchases. Doconomy in Sweden, a partner of Mastercard, for instance, helps users track and measure the CO2 emissions associated with their purchases, enabling them to limit the climate impact of their spending through climate savings, climate compensation, sustainable investments, and climate refunds from partner brands.
Open banking ecosystems and sustainable digital finance
Banks are strategically deploying fintech eco-systems to drive sustainability in their products and operations. This is often referred to as sustainable digital finance (SDF). It includes mobile payments platforms, crowdfunding, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, digital tokens, and internet of things (IoT), to help providers directly and indirectly support the targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Retail divisions (as seen at Barclays) have opened additional application programming interfaces (APIs) to collaborate with external partners that commit to designing new green products.
ESG-focused robo-platforms use machine learning (ML) algorithms to guide investors towards suitable investments, typically exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that bundle securities into themed and lower-risk instruments in which risk is hedged across a portfolio. Sustainable ETFs have grown in popularity due to specialist robo-advisors, such as EarthSimple10, which deals exclusively in sustainable ETFs.
By making it easier for individuals to invest in accordance with their values and preferences, the total amount of capital available for SDGs may increase significantly.
This is an edited extract from the ESG – Top Trends by Sector – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.