Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is the new digital transformation for all industries, including banking and payments. However, the initiative is as complex and all-encompassing as the entire digital transformation project itself.

Listed below are the key technology trends impacting ESG performance in the banking and payments sector, as identified by GlobalData.

ESG and spending analytics

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, 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. Just as we had traceability in supply chains for fair trade, we are now moving toward traceability in money.

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 the internet of things (IoT), to help providers directly and indirectly support the targets set in the UN’s sustainable development goals (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.

Sustainable robo-advice

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 that deal 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 (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Top Trends by Sector – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.