Research and innovation in environmental, social, and governance in the banks, payment providers, cards programmes and processors sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of ESG patent applications in the industry stood at nine in the three months ending November – down from 16 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to ESG followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 21 in the three months ending November last year to seven this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

ESG is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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By GlobalData

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Capital One Financial Corp was the top environmental, social, and governance innovator in the banks, payment providers, cards programmes and processors sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed six ESG related patents in the three months ending November. That was down from 10 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the Japan based Shinsei Bank Ltd with four ESG patent applications, the United States based Bank of America Corp (3 applications), and the United Kingdom based Barclays Plc (3 applications).