Global Thinking Foundation
Observatory on Fintech & Sustainability

Fintech & Sustainability, a likely match

The recent applications of digital technology for financial services – generally referred to as Fintech – have been disrupting banking, insurance and financial sectors. Artificial intelligence(AI), distributed ledger technology (blockchain), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine learning are all enabling new business models, as well as creating more inclusive products and services. This is happening at a time of massive demographic and social transformation. For instance, at the European level, an increasingly ageing population is being compensated for by the arrival of both a younger and more digital savvy and connected migrant population.

Sustainable Innovation

Innovation in the financial sector, should be sustainable, and not only from a purely economic stand point. It’s no longer acceptable to plan and design products and services without weighting the direct and indirect effects they might have on the environmental and social dimensions. In this regard Fintech holds great potential for supporting and financing sustainable development, aligned with the 2030 UN Agenda on Sustainable Development and its pillars, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The interactions between Fintech and Sustainability are several and already happening at different levels. For instance, ‘Finance for Sustainability’ aims at mobilizing finance to support sustainable investments in environmental protection and clean energy; additionally blockchain technologies are more and more accustomed to ensuring transparency in complex supply chains, guaranteeing circularity in resource usage and ensuring emission reduction; crowdfunding solutions enables have secured funding to a growing number of projects. Additionally Fintech has democratized access to banking and financial services, allowing services to reach into segments of the population traditionally underserved by banks, and freeing entrepreneurial energies while generating economic growth for the individual and community as a whole. Nevertheless, the Fintech sector can have downsides and unintended effects on a number of dimensions, such as gender and digital divide or privacy and security.

Looking Eastward

Much remains to be investigated in the links between Fintech and Sustainability, their related risks and shared impacts. This is will be part of the mission for the Global Thinking Foundation’ Observatory on Fintech & Sustainability that aims to become a platform for discussions and provide valid and poignant contributions to engage a wide range of stakeholders, among finance, and sustainability professionals.

Through our Observatory on Fintech for Sustainability (OFS), the Global Thinking Foundation adds a further piece to its action on the issues of social inclusion and empowerment of the most fragile components of society. After the intensive promotion of financial literacy for women, young people and the elderly in Italy, the assistance of over-indebted students in the United States and initiatives for women in France, the OFS expands the gaze of the Global Thinking Foundation also to the East. Specifically to all those places of digital innovation par excellence in the Fintech field, and that have made the theme of economic sustainability, a political priority.

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KEY WORDS

Fintech & Sustainability

The digitalization of financial services opens uncharted territories for sustainable development

Cities as Clusters of Sustainable Innovation

Contemporary cities are the ideal lab for research and experimentation on sustainable innovation

Champion Social and Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion leverages individual independence with positive outcomes on national economies

Boost Financial and Digital Literacy

Financial alphabetization is strictly linked to financial knowledge

Collaborative Innovation

Sustainable innovation can only spread from an active collaboration between actors of the financial ecosystem towards mutual goals

Support 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs

Fintech can help tackle Sustainable Development Goals, that are the backbone of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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