Fintechs act as catalysts to enable sustainable economy of the future

06 Oct 2022

Fintechs will play a pivotal role in enabling banks to meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets and the expectations of their customers, according to panellists at the European edition of Open Banking Expo in Amsterdam on 30 September.

Delegates heard how fintechs were harnessing data to help banks meet the needs of their increasingly environmentally conscious clients.

Jane Michotte, EMEA head of customer success, for Cogo, a carbon emission tracking specialist, said banks are enhancing the support they provide across market segments.

“Our flagship partnership was with NatWest, and we launched carbon tracking into the NatWest banking app at COP26,” she explained. “That was for their retail customers. Since then, we have also worked with their SME customers with a tracking tool in their app and their carbon planner.”

Delegates discussed the role that fintechs will play in a future economy that is more sustainable, outlining how they will be working with banks and other financials services business in the future.

Nicole Krämer, a sustainability analyst at Greenomy, said that collaboration would be key to ensuring that sustainable finance processes accelerate in the years to come. The ability to interpret large ESG data sets will be key to enabling investors to allocate capital to the future sustainable economy, she said.

Panellists acknowledged that there is a degree of consumer education required to overcome the inaccurate notion that sustainability needs to be expensive.

“It is all about using data to get the information to people, and that’s where this is really interesting,” Michotte explained. “Banks have access to millions of people, they also have the transactional data, and it’s where people are making decisions about what they do with their money.”

In an interview immediately after the event, Michotte underscored the importance that financial services business have assigned to ESG over the coming years, investing millions to meet the changing needs of customers.

“Every bank that we are talking to has very strong targets around ESG,” she said. “It is important to their customers and other stakeholders that they are reporting on this.

“As people think about how to spend their money, you can think about how every euro they spend has an impact on the planet. Customers are increasingly looking for support in this area.”