In a fireside chat titled ‘Fintech and the Climate Crisis: Driving Innovation for a Sustainable Future’ on day one of IFGS 2023, panelists Anisha Mohil, impact and sustainability manager at ecolytiq and Ian Sutherland, CFO of Tide, discussed the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Ecolytiq was created to address the consumer consumption problem, explained Mohil. Ecolytiq helps customers understand how purchases tie-in with emissions and how they can make actionable steps to reduce their own emissions in their day-to-day financial decisions. She describes the intention-action gap in which consumers suffer from a lack of education and understanding of carbon emissions. Ecolytiq works with banks and financial institutions to offer users a platform in which they can view their carbon emissions and engage with more sustainable products.
Sutherland introduced Tide as a fintech that focuses aiding SMEs work towards sustainability, making dedicated progress towards their Net Zero goals. Sutherland states that Tide “builds tools that will over time help small businesses be able to act sustainably in a seamless way using their data within their app of multiple data sources to provide a carbon footprint. We also look at how we can help businesses think about how they might be able to purchase carbon offset removals to reduce their overall footprint.”
Tide was the first fintech to remove 100% of their global carbon emissions this year. Sutherland plans to maintain this momentum by educating small businesses in reducing their emissions by removing residual carbon with sustainable and durable carbon fuels. He added that Tide is committed to being fully Net Zero by 2030.
Sutherland emphasised that purchasing carbon removal is possible and is a nascent marketplace that must be pursued. “I want to help in educating that the more that is invested in sustainable practices, the more these technologies will become more scalable over time, and we will be able to solve a part large part of the climate problem by investing specifically. That is where we are coming from in terms of education, but also building products.”
Mohil stated that she looks at the impact in the sustainability space in a three-fold format: “There is the operational side on how can we reduce our emissions internally, focus on diversity, and inclusion. There is also the product side, where we use tools from the NGO space to evaluate whether we are having an impact; we look at data and treat it as scientifically as possible to make sure that we are not greenwashing when we make these tools that we support our customers use. I think that is an important part that needs to be looked at more closely. The third is looking at systemic change. How can you advocate engage with policymakers and regulators, for your own interests, collaborate with people in your industry?”
Mohil advised that fintechs assess their materiality issues. She explained that there is typically a double materiality, looking at sustainable material topics that have an impact on people financially and on the planet. She suggested looking at the Accounting Standards Board website and using the materiality finder tool to see a company’s impact on the planet. This will initiate deeper interviewing of stakeholders, internal assessments, and managing different requirements that will lead to a more sustainable future.
Sutherland encouraged companies to limit their travel to cut carbon emissions and use the emerging tools available to consistently assess their sustainability in all aspects of the business.