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Sustainable Finance Live sneak peek: Finastra’s Chirine Ben Zaied

Sustainable Finance Live sneak peek: Finastra’s Chirine Ben Zaied

As Sustainable Finance Live 2023 approaches on 10 October at Events@No6 London, Finextra spoke to a few speakers to provide attendees with an insight into what’s to come. This week we spoke with Chirine Ben Zaied, head of innovation at Finastra who will be mentoring the hackathon participants, which is taking place ahead of and during the conference.

Ben Zaied noted that there has been a significant effort for the financial sector to combat climate change, citing that there has been an increase in green and sustainable bonds and ESG products especially in Europe. She continued that with an increase in interest in sustainable initiatives, there will be more focus on transparency in the sector.

Ben Zaied outlined what companies can be doing to counteract global emissions:

  1. “Helping their clients measure their carbon footprint, assess their climate risks and define their transformation journey. And we see already a number of banks and insurers offering support there to their clients;
  2. Providing them with financial support to finance the transformation with all the SGG+ products mentioned earlier; and
  3. Measuring progress and adjusting along the way, and here we get a feedback loop with more data and richer analytics and reports.”

She highlighted how collaboration can generate positive outcomes for both financial institutions and their corporate clients by defining challenges and supporting each other’s transformations.

Ben Zaied believes that AI and data analytics provide great opportunity within the industry, but it will not be a smooth ride. She stated: “Data is definitely the key challenge here, in some areas because of its scarcity, or quality, and in some others as you need to build the rights analytics on top of it.

“Let’s take an example of a green bond, the issuer commits to report annually on the funds allocation to projects, and then the impact can be measured at project level, for example for a renewable energy project, you get the MWh capacity that was created. But most often, things are a bit more complex, and measuring the impact requires first a carbon emission analysis, that serves as a basis to report on where things are improving. Then you can get another level of complexity if you consider the dependencies between social and environmental, or if you go beyond climate to also consider biodiversity, and that’s where technology can really help, every step of the way – from data collection, including geospatial, data engineering to analytics tools and reporting.”

Remarking on trends she predicts will emerge in the sustainable finance sector, Ben Zaied foresees that companies will prioritise sustainable initiatives and ESG, CFOs in particular, and that climate risk practices will emerge within financial institutions.

On what she is most looking forward to at Sustainable Finance Live 2023, Ben Zaid expressed: “I really love the event structure – lean back, lean in, and learn by doing. I’m mostly excited about the hackathon piece, and really looking forward to all the ideas and projects the teams would come up with.”

Learn more and register for Finextra's annual Sustainable Finance Live conference, that will bring together industry experts to examine strategies to build a sustainable city on 10 October 2023.

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