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Establishing and defining climate fintech as an industry in its own right

Establishing and defining climate fintech as an industry in its own right

A lot has changed since the fintech boom of the 2010s and the subsequent genesis of innovation, new business models, new user experiences and the formation of new companies. Richard Peers, founder of Responsible Risk and contributing editor at Finextra Research speaks to Aaron McCreary, climate fintech lead at New Energy Nexus about how a similar wave will sweep through the sustainable finance space in 2021.

Coming from a background in crowdfunding and asset management, McCreary highlights how the organisation formerly known as the California Clean Energy Fund has been nurturing entrepreneurs and helping startups get from point A to point B with thematic accelerator programmes across the world.

New Energy Nexus, acknowledging the widespread challenges of 2020, are picking up on climate investment trends, decarbonisation efforts and policy changes and are continuing to support the Hewlett Foundation’s five-year climate strategy, which is running until 2023.

By looking at the intersection of fintech and climate change - climate fintech - McCreary’s team have been able to dive deep into applied technologies and ecosystems that have the potential to be used at scale in years to come.

Exploring their new report ‘Climate Fintech: Mapping an Emerging Ecosystem of Climate Capital Catalysts’, McCreary defines climate fintech as “digital financial technology that catalyses decarbonisation.

“Fintech has already shown its ability to disrupt the financial system, but what happens if you use fintech with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions specifically.” While there has been research conducted on the link between fintech and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, this report focuses on SDG 7 and 13: how digital technology can advocate for affordable, clean energy and climate action.

Click to expand. Source: New Energy Nexus

For McCreary, the biggest takeaway when conducting the research was that the climate fintech ecosystem is one that will positively affect large financial institutions, as well as individual citizens. “There are various technologies that permeate the financial daily lives of different stakeholders, so for example, as a consumer, there is now sustainable commerce and applications that will track your credit card spending and tell you what sort of brands to engage with based on the carbon footprint that you want to have.”

Further, he explains that “neobanks arebenefiting from the Covid-19 pandemic,” with so many customers being encouraged to stay at home and bank in a digital fashion. “Neobanks can also more easily decouple themselves from the fossil fuel industry, allowing them to offer products and services to their customers which are more climate-conscious. These simple financial solutions can have a real impact at scale.”

Click here to watch the full interview with Aaron McCreary, climate fintech lead, New Energy Nexus.

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