Sustainable finance: What is it and who leads the way? Fintech Insights

Sustainable finance: What is it and who leads the way?

Sustainable finance requires sustainable solutions. Read how Irish fintechs are delivering them.

Sustainable finance covers everything from environmental issues and climate change, to anti-money laundering (AML) and cyber protection measures. It is an increasingly critical agenda item for institutional investors, asset managers, banks, and the insurance sector.

Ireland’s innovative fintech start-ups are playing their part, helping to ensure the world benefits from sustainable finance.

Ireland’s Year of Sustainable Finance

Fittingly, 2019 is Ireland’s Year of Sustainable Finance. This has seen a rolling series of domestic and international events taking place, highlighting and developing Ireland’s growth as a global centre of excellence in sustainable finance.

Ireland’s Financial Services Minister Michael D’Arcy has made sustainable finance a key theme in the Irish government’s IFS 2020 Strategy action plan for 2019.

Its objectives include the development of a national roadmap to support the continued growth of sustainable finance activities in Ireland, organising Climate Finance Week in November and exploring the development of a sustainable finance innovation programme of activities, including in the area of green fintech.

Ireland is increasingly seen as a centre of excellence in the area of sustainable finance, with regard to the huge sums of capital required to finance projects to tackle climate change in Ireland and globally.

But sustainable finance isn’t only about environmental issues. It is also about ensuring financial services companies engage in good corporate governance, ensure regulatory compliance, safeguard cyber security and customer privacy and mitigate fraud.

This is a space in which Irish fintech innovators are particularly proactive, creating innovative and robust new tools for Know Your Customer and AML.

Green fintechs leading from Ireland

Irish company Sedicii’s AML monitoring solution enables banks to collaborate without sharing data, helping to reduce false positives and identify risks in real time, as well as enabling real-time digital customer onboarding.

Banks can also verify customers in minutes with Sedicii’s fully compliant consent-driven KYC solution.

Daon is a leader in biometric authentication and identity assurance solutions worldwide. It has pioneered methods for securely and conveniently combining biometric and identity capabilities across multiple channels.

Daon has activated large-scale deployments spanning payments verification, digital banking and wealth management for financial services customers that include BNP Paribas Wealth Management in Luxembourg.

Irish fintech giant Fexco has developed ENCASH (Electronic Network Cash Tellers), the world’s first ever mobile cash withdrawal solution. It has been launched in the Philippines, a country in which more than 95% of all transactions are completed in cash and yet is poorly served by ATMs.

Fexco EasyDebit is a unique service that uses a mobile Point of Sale (or mPOS pin entry device) and a mobile phone to allow customers to withdraw cash using their ATM card at any number of local accredited merchants including payment and remittance centres, retailers, rural banks and cooperatives, instead of needing to travel to an ATM.

PiP iT, a fintech start-up, has developed a unique B2B platform that powers international cash transactions so that its partners and their customers can accept cash for cross-border bill payments, load cash onto eWallets, accept cash for ecommerce orders and lodge cash into bank accounts across borders.

PiP iT’s platform clients use it to generate and issue bills or vouchers to their customers, who receive them on their mobile phone – or can print them out – and then take them to PiP iT collection agents worldwide, such as retailers and post offices, to make their payments. These are then settled to PiP iT, and on to the client’s bank.

Payments are made offline, so there are fewer security risks. It is designed to be easy to use, operating via the sending of a barcode. But crucially, the end user doesn’t need banks or cards to make payments. This makes it of particular value in those parts of the world where significant numbers of people remain unbanked.

Irish start-up AID:Tech uses a combination of blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a decentralised digital identity platform, which empowers people to manage their own data securely and privately.

It was the first company in the world to deliver international aid using blockchain technology, when it did so for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, on behalf of the Irish Red Cross.

Today it brings transparency to the distribution of aid, welfare, remittances and donations around the world, and has been nominated as one of Europe’s 100 Digital Champions by the Financial Times.

Priviti helps companies to manage individuals’ consent for data sharing and transactions, to reduce data privacy and regulatory compliance risk.

It ensures organisations have a regulatory compliant audit trail with irrefutable evidence that their customer had provided explicit consent when sharing customer data. It also ensures customers have full control over which private information is to be shared with whom, while Priviti never sees, stores or monetises customer identifiable data.

Award winning start-up DX Compliance Solutions offers artificially intelligent, efficiency-enhancing software solutions for AML, anti-financial crime and anti-terrorist financing compliance and has customers that include banks, fintechs and insurance companies.

These, like so many other Irish fintechs, are creating the sustainable solutions that help to power sustainable finance worldwide.

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