FFCON21 Breaking Barriers May 11-13, 2021

Category Archives: ESG, Financial Inclusion, Sustainable Finance

Fintech Trends to Watch for This Year

Guest Post | Apr 23, 2021

Fintech adoption among seniors - Fintech Trends to Watch for This Year

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about digital transformations in many ways. Remote work was no longer a theory—it was a necessity. Telemedicine wasn’t an experiment—it became the only way to get standard medical care.

Fintech also exploded because financial institutions were closed for in-person services, and our entire lives moved online.

Of course, fintech was already on its way to being one of the biggest disruptors in both tech and finance, but that was likely sped up by the pandemic. From new emerging data protection strategies for fintech to reaching broader audiences, there has been a lot of evolution in the industry.

With that in mind, the following are some of the fintech trends to watch this year and into the next.

Adoption by Older People

One of the biggest shifts in fintech is that it’s no longer just seen as something for the Millennial and younger demographic. The closure of brick-and-mortar banks and financial institutions, as well as reduced hours and restrictions on things like going into lobbies, mean that even people less comfortable with technology had to shift to online options.

There has been a huge increase in mobile banking registrations, and more older people are starting to get comfortable with things like online bill pay.

With that has also come a shift in how older people view online banking.

Non-traditional financial and banking services and platforms are starting to be seen as more credible and legitimate as a whole.

Blockchain Growth

Blockchain technology is allowing for peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a middle-man to transfer assets, and that in and of itself is becoming a big disruptor in the financial industry.

Asset transfers don’t just mean money. It means things like titles and mortgages.

Transactions that might have taken days or weeks before can now be done efficiently within minutes.

Join us:  FFCON21: May 11-13 Breaking Barriers Feature Speaker Humanoid Robot SophiaDAO

There’s not just a speed-up in the timing of transactions that’s available with blockchain. There’s also more transparency. You can go into the blockchain ledger and ensure there aren’t any changes to the record.

A report from Business Insider Intelligence found that 48% of bank representatives think blockchain technology will be the most impactful trend in the industry this year and beyond.

Along with the role of blockchain will also be more of an influence coming from cryptocurrency. Facebook is even rumored to be rolling out its own cryptocurrency and P2P platform dubbed the Libra project.

Artificial Intelligence

There’s hardly an industry not being affected by artificial intelligence, and banking and fintech are no exception.

Banks are estimating they’ll reduce their operational expenses by 22% thanks to artificial intelligence by 2030.

Banks might end up being able to save as much as $1 trillion with the use of AI, or at least that’s the hope based on current projections.

Some of the specific ways AI and machine learning might start playing a more pivotal role in fintech include increasingly customized chatbots that can take care of complex tasks for customers, as well as the availability of digital assistance that can provide personalized financial advice to users, including highlighting specific investment and saving opportunities.

Security and Regulation

Fintech providers are going to have to increasingly work to keep up with security and regulation. Security is one of customer’s number one concerns, and with this in mind, not only do extensive security precautions need to be taken, but you’ll see fintech and digital banking companies using this as part of their marketing.

There is talk about more regulation in a variety of areas that could impact fintech too. For example, trading platform Robinhood faced legislative scrutiny recently after the buzzy GameStock situation when Redditors came together to boost the stock. There’s also talk about more regulation regarding cryptocurrency, and fintech companies, in general, are likely to face more stringent standards.

There’s also something called RegTech, which utilizes AI to do risk assessments and provide big data insights. The more fintech companies are collecting data, the more oversight they face, and RegTech may help alleviate some of the compliance-based burdens these companies are facing.

Inclusiveness

Finally, fintech companies are going to likely be moving into the world of inclusion and focusing on bringing diverse customers into their services. This is a top priority for companies in all industries, but you’ll see a lot of products, services, and marketing targeted directly at larger and more diverse audiences.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Trends to Watch for This Year The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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FCA Speech: Levelling the playing field – innovation in the service of consumers and the market

FCA | Nikhil Rathi | Apr 20, 2021

Nikhil Rathi CEO FCA - FCA Speech: Levelling the playing field – innovation in the service of consumers and the marketHighlights

  • Success in financial innovation has been enabled by regulatory open-mindedness.
  • Support for innovation has been matched by action to protect consumers and markets.
  • The FCA will be taking forward the Kalifa Review’s recommendation for a Scalebox, including the creation of a regulatory nursery.
  • Online search and social media firms need to take greater responsibility for their role in connecting consumers with these investment offers.
  • We also need to make sure that our internal processes allow for quick action, which is why we are currently reviewing how our Regulatory Decisions Committee functions.

Thanks to many of you participating in this conference, UK fintech has grown successfully in recent years, at the forefront of global innovation.

Its revenue rose to £11bn in 2019 – almost doubling in only four years and accounting for almost 10% of the global total. Already this year, we have seen over $1bn worth of investment into UK fintech.

This revenue growth and investment has been supported by and, in turn encouraged, changes in consumer behaviour.

Seven in ten of us now use the services of at least one fintech company.

More consumers are adopting innovative ways of accessing financial services in the UK than in equivalent markets, for example using finance aggregator services to make it easier to save and manage outgoings.

This success in financial innovation has been enabled by regulatory open-mindedness; a trait not always associated with regulators.

So, why has the FCA taken this lead?

First, Parliament has given us a duty to promote competition.

The challenge for us is the balancing act required by the rider within our competition objective – in the interests of consumers.

The choice created by competitive markets is, in itself, not a social or economic good. It only becomes one when it delivers better or cheaper products, an improved or more tailored service, and pushes incumbents to fight harder to attract and keep their customers. Crucially, consumers must be armed with information they can readily understand to help them make the right choice for them.

See:  FCA and City of London’s Digital Sandbox Pilot – Presentations and Use Cases

In supporting innovation to deliver more competitive markets, another of our objectives is held in balance – that of consumer protection.

Innovation comes with risk. New products and new firms fail. They can take consumers’ money with them. As a result, we, as regulator, need to understand new ideas and stay close to innovative firms.

That is why, less than a year after the FCA was founded, we set up Project Innovate. This recognised that the financial services industry has high costs of entry, and so those wishing to join – with genuinely new ideas that support markets and provide choice to consumers – require additional regulatory support.

We have now supported over 500 highly innovative firms, around a third of those that applied.

137 firms have now also passed through the Sandbox, in which new innovative ideas are safely tested before reaching the market. Of those, over half successfully completed their test. And those tests that did not go as planned provided intelligence about what works and what doesn’t, without risk to consumers or markets.

As a result, there are products now on the market offering new ways to pay, insure and access advice. And to support the wider market, we have tested regtech solutions, for example how to manage the compliance in the issuance of digital assets or deal with anti-money laundering requirements.

See:  Culture: Why regulators should care about diversity and inclusion

This support for innovation has been matched by action to protect consumers and markets, where we believe the consumer or market benefits are few or unclear.

For example, while we can see how useful distributed ledger technology can be - indeed a number of products drawing on it have been through the sandbox - we have made clear our concerns about certain investments in cryptoassets, which rely on DLT.

Last year, we banned the sale of crypto derivatives to retail consumers because the majority lost money, despite significant price increases in the underlying assets.

We also warned that direct investment in cryptoassets is high risk, with few regulatory protections.

We have been blunt. If you invest, you should be able to afford to lose it all.

Continued support for innovation

In last month’s letter of recommendations for the FCA from the Chancellor, the FCA was asked to

“secure the right balance between a financial sector that is globally competitive, works for consumers, and is secure over the long-term.”

As part of this careful balancing act, the Chancellor announced the FCA will be taking forward the Kalifa Review’s recommendation for a Scalebox.

Here, we are drawing on lessons from Project Innovate, which has shown that once authorised, firms continue to need higher levels of support from the regulator and, often, enhanced oversight.

See:  FCA: Regulating innovation: a global enterprise

By autumn, we will develop plans to create a regulatory ‘nursery’.

This will create a period of enhanced oversight as those newly authorised firms develop and grow used to their regulatory status.

Currently, firms gain regulatory status and are treated in the same way as a firm with a long track record. The regulatory nursery will keep us in close contact with firms immediately post-authorisation so we can provide support and, where we need to, intervene earlier to steer firms in the right direction.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - FCA Speech: Levelling the playing field – innovation in the service of consumers and the market The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Clean Energy Bitcoin Mining Joint Venture Agreement Signed by Link Global Technologies and Neptune Digital Assets

Neptune Digital Assets Corp. | Release | Apr 12, 2021

Bitcoin clean energy mining - Clean Energy Bitcoin Mining Joint Venture Agreement Signed by Link Global Technologies and Neptune Digital Assets

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NEPTUNE DIGITAL ASSETS CORP. (“Neptune” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:NDA; OTC:NPPTF; FSE:1NW) is pleased to provide an update on its planned expansion into renewable energy Bitcoin (“BTC”) mining. The Company and LINK GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES INC. (CSE: LNK; FRA: LGT; OTC: LGLOF) (“LINK”) have incorporated a joint venture company, Pure Digital Power Corp. (“Pure”), and in connection therewith, the Company, Link and Pure have entered into a shareholders’ agreement governing the management of Pure. Pure is a power and Bitcoin mining infrastructure company with an emphasis on clean sustainable energy.

See:  Cryptocurrency and energy consumption debate

Through Pure, Neptune and Link have agreed to develop an initial 5 megawatt (“MW”) renewable energy dominated BTC mining facility in Alberta, with potential for expansion and scaling. Establishing Pure and entering into the corresponding shareholders agreement follows shortly after the March 19, 2021 announcement of the proposed joint venture between LINK and Neptune to develop a green energy facility. All BTC mined under Pure’s operation are expected to be held in the treasury for reinvestment and decentralized finance (defi) based earnings, similar to Neptune’s current approach to treasury and asset management.

Highlights:

  • Pure is a joint venture company owned equally by LINK and Neptune — sharing equally in costs and crypto based revenues
  • The first Pure site will be in Alberta, Canada where LINK operates the majority of its BTC mining operations
  • The Pure site will be powered by clean energy sources — Solar, wind, and minimal natural gas
  • Focused on development of a Pure carbon credit token or NFT

Neptune’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Cale Moodie, commented: “We are extremely excited with our second foray into Bitcoin mining with Link, and an environmentally sustainably focused operation at that. We see the future of Bitcoin mining to be an environmentally sustainable one and this flagship operation is likely to be the first of many facilities to be developed using green sources.”

See:  Blockchain and the Future of Energy

Link’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Jenkins, also commented: “The creation of Pure is the perfect step in the evolution of Link. We have found a like-minded partner in Neptune who understands the value of green energy and sees the same business opportunity in creating a sustainable path for the energy requirements of BTC mining. The Pure 5 MW facility is only the beginning of what we expect will be an innovative and profitable relationship.”

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Clean Energy Bitcoin Mining Joint Venture Agreement Signed by Link Global Technologies and Neptune Digital Assets The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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#FFCON21 Brings Canada’s Tech Hub to the Web for 3 Days of Fintech Insights, Business Building

Investor Wire | Jonathan Keim | April 10, 2021

FFCON21 Image 3 - #FFCON21 Brings Canada’s Tech Hub to the Web for 3 Days of Fintech Insights, Business BuildingFFCON21: Breaking Barriers May 11-13

  • The 2021 Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo (#FFCON21) is scheduled May 11-13
  • Global virtual conference streamed from Toronto, the hub of Canada’s developing fintech ecosystem, but presented online due to pandemic concerns
  • 50-plus speakers with expert insights planned
  • Networking opportunities to connect one-to-one with peers and experts
  • Draft pitching competition to gain attention for business brand (as well as prizes)

The 7th Fintech & Financing Conference and Expo will be held for global participants virtually from May 11-13, 2021.  Originating in Toronto, FFCON21 has grown from a basic collaboration between entrepreneurs and big businesses intent on driving change into a thriving gathering of fintech, blockchain, crypto, digital banking, AI, payments, wealthtech, regtech, alternative finance stakeholders and global participants with a love for Canada’s fintech ecosystem.

In its seventh year, the 2021 gathering (#FFCON21) has been adapted to the health security needs of attendees during the present global pandemic, offering exclusive online access to a three-day collection of educational courses, networking opportunities, pitch competitions, e-booth demos and an auction for charity. 

The conference will take place May 11 to 13, still celebrating its place within Canada’s rising fintech and financial sector even as it extends its reach to a global audience through a virtual platform. Tickets, including early bird rates at present and a special startups-only package, are available at https://ibn.fm/3Ov1h.

Conference organizers anticipate bringing attendees to the table with some 50 speakers ranging from Main Street executives such as the president and CEO of public-private partnership Toronto Finance International to enterprising up-and-comers such as the founder-partner of startup builder Borderless Ventures and its CryptoAssets Institute.

See:  Showcase your products/services: Secure a DEMO Speaker spot at FFCON21: May 11-1

The second annual draft pitching and demo competition follows a sports league model geared toward identifying and featuring emerging and high growth fintech startups and scaleups. The “Breaking Barriers” theme of the conference is particularly appropriate here as draft participants compete for exposure and prizes, including promotion to investors, media, prospective buyers and partners.

The online access format driven by the pandemic proved advantageous last year following a scheduling delay necessary to reimagine the presentation of the spring conference. The digital venue and interactive platform allows for increased participation on a global scale because of the elimination of travel expenses from the plan. Networking and file sharing are able to occur naturally and easily using integrated online text and video chat features.

Additionally, the online platform makes it simple to access all digital content to catch up on anything attendees may have missed at a time when it is more convenient. Networking and e-booth displays present attendees with the potential to make connections with a future business mentor, investor or a prospective employee to help build their companies.

And at the heart of it all is the class schedule with insights from thought leaders on the direction of fintech solutions and emerging fintech trends. Presentations will explore topics that address the latest innovations, emerging industry regulation and the impact of government activity on financial technology markets.

For more information, visit the conference’s web portal at https://fintechandfunding.com.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - #FFCON21 Brings Canada’s Tech Hub to the Web for 3 Days of Fintech Insights, Business Building The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Sustainable finance linked bonds and loans in the capital markets

Torys | David A. Seville, Janet Holmes, and Michael Murphy | Mar 23, 2021

Green finance - Sustainable finance linked bonds and loans in the capital marketsSustainable finance continues to gain momentum as governments and corporate issuers pay increasing attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and investors, regulators and other stakeholders encourage more robust ESG practices.  Interest in sustainable finance accelerated in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need for funds to help economies, businesses and individuals recover in a responsible manner that addresses environmental and social challenges. The global market for sustainable finance totaled US$732 billion in 2020, up 29% from US$565 billion in 2019, with responding to COVID-19 ranking fifth in terms of value for use of proceeds among bonds issued in 2020, behind renewable energy, green buildings, access to essential services and clean transportation.

Market offerings in sustainable finance include green bonds, green loans, social bonds, sustainability bonds, sustainability-linked bonds and loans, transition bonds and Sustainable Development Goals-linked bonds (SDG-linked bonds). In this article, we discuss these instruments and relevant examples from the Canadian and global markets.

See:  The Steps to Designing a more sustainable and digital economy

Green bonds:  The proceeds of green bonds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance new and/or existing “Green Projects” as defined by the Green Bond Principles issued by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA).  Green Projects should provide clear environmental benefits that can be assessed and, where feasible, quantified by the issuer. The green bond market dates back to the inaugural green bond issuance by the World Bank in November 2008 and is the most well-developed of the sustainable finance markets. These bonds require the issuer to deploy and track the use of proceeds according to a disclosed framework, develop a process for project evaluation and selection, and report on the deployment of proceeds.

Green loans:  Green loans are similar to green bonds in that funds are made available exclusively to finance or re-finance new and/or existing eligible “Green Projects” as defined in the Green Loan Principles9 developed by the Loan Market Association. Green Projects are defined the same way under both the Green Bond Principles and the Green Loan Principles, thereby providing issuers with the flexibility to choose between debt financing options for Green Projects.  You can read more about green loans and other sustainable loans in “Trends in ESG loans”.

Social bonds:  The proceeds of social bonds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance new and/or existing “Social Projects” as defined in ICMA’s Social Bond Principles. Social Projects include providing and/or promoting affordable basic infrastructure, access to essential services, affordable housing and food security.

See:  5 Drivers Behind the Sustainable Investing Shift

Sustainability bonds:  Sustainability bonds are instruments whose proceeds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance a combination of both Green Projects and Social Projects in accordance with ICMA’s Sustainability Bond Guidelines.  Sustainability bonds may be an attractive option for issuers that would like the flexibility to allocate proceeds among Green Projects and Social Projects without having to issue separate bonds.

Sustainability-linked bonds and loans:  Sustainability-linked bonds and loans differ from green bonds, green loans, social bonds and sustainability bonds in that the proceeds do not need to be used to finance Green Projects and/or Social Projects. Instead, the borrower’s achievement of (or failure to achieve) predetermined sustainability performance objectives (e.g., a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, or increased use of renewable energy), external ratings and/or equivalent metrics can result in a decrease (or increase) in borrowing costs. These bonds require specified pre-issuance disclosure such as an overall sustainability strategy, identification of the precise targets and performance indicators, and post-issuance verification of performance.

Transition bonds:  Transition bonds are similar to sustainability-linked bonds and loans in that they do not generally require proceeds to be used to finance or re-finance Green Projects. Instead, the proceeds of transition bonds are used to fund a firm’s transition towards a reduced environmental impact or to reduce the firm’s carbon emissions.

See:  Podcast: How blockchain could revolutionize green finance in Asia

Transition bonds may be an attractive option for issuers that are taking meaningful steps to reduce their environmental impact but do not have significant projects that would qualify as Green Projects and therefore would be unable to issue green bonds. These bonds require the publication of a transition framework, disclosure in line with the TCFD recommendations, commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement or approved targets to achieve zero emissions by 2050, and reporting on transition performance.

SDG-linked bonds:  SDG-linked bonds include covenants based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the issuer is penalized if it fails to meet these covenants in the agreed timeframe.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Sustainable finance linked bonds and loans in the capital markets The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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The evolution of ESG: Corporate sustainability leaders in the financial services sector are taking on new responsibilities

KPMG US | Adam Hirsh | March 23, 2021

ESG - The evolution of ESG:  Corporate sustainability leaders in the financial services sector are taking on new responsibilities

Corporate sustainability leaders in the financial services sector are taking on new responsibilities

Few roles have changed so dramatically, so quickly, as that of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO).

The spotlight continues to brighten on responsible business practices. CSOs at banks, asset managers, broker-dealers and other financial institutions have responded to customer, regulator, and investor demands for increased transparency by providing greater details and a more timely discussion and report of their firms’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

See: New SEC task force will scrutinize ESG and climate disclosures and marketing

It is more important than ever for financial services firms to centralize the management and strategic allocation of capital in ways that positively impact ESG issues. In order to best support their companies’ ESG goals, CSOs are broadening their skill sets and working across their organizations to define, measure and disclose how their companies are adhering to ESG principles.

Financial services company CSOs are adjusting to changes driven by several developments in corporate ESG.

ESG has risen to the top of the corporate agenda.

The financial allocation of green investments was once primarily the domain of asset managers deep within their own companies, and just one of many factors influencing their individual portfolio decisions. Companies are now realizing the importance of developing a firmwide ESG investment strategy. “We are sounding the alarm bells that if you are an investment institution and you’re not embracing this and taking it into account, it’s going to be at your own peril,” according to MSCI chairman and CEO Henry Fernandez.1

Today, the C-suite understands that weak ESG performance represents significant financial risks and can adversely impact funding costs, while strong ESG performance can provide opportunities to gain competitive advantage and market share.

The sustainability officer is no longer the sole owner of ESG.

Integration of climate / green strategies and investments are increasingly supported by business heads, compliance, chief financial officers and the chief risk officers along with the CSO. Companies are appropriately prioritizing their ESG programs relating to their revenue-generating businesses, integrating efforts in the company’s operational strategy across functions. Additionally, we are seeing a transformation of CSOs evolving from a heavy public relations focus to one of setting ESG strategy for the company across products and services.

See:  OECD Report Outlines Challenges Facing ESG Investing

ESG terminology, materiality and approach can differ greatly across geographies, lines of business, and products. However, it is anticipated going forward that there will be a lean towards more consistency, driven by increasing regulatory focus as well as other developments impacting ESG reporting. Hence, there is an opportunity to align on the future state vision and agree what steps firms should take in the shorter term as well as the longer term when the investment community and market dynamics evolve. All disciplines must work in harmony together to effectively manage risk and capture opportunities across the entire enterprise.

Stakeholders demand data-based proof that firms are adhering to their ESG goals.

It’s one thing for a financial company to declare an ESG investment target over the span of a decade. It’s another to show where, how, and what impact that investment is having across the markets, industries and communities they currently serve. Increasingly we see companies applying a broader, more holistic consideration of ESG factors in their investment strategies. While environmental topics continue to be highly important, investors are looking for opportunities to drive additional benefits across a range of social domains, which improve the perceived ESG impact of the investments.

CSOs will continue to work more closely with their finance colleagues to ensure their companies improve data capture, cleanliness, and analysis (often with the help of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence), as well as to identify and report meaningful metrics to their shareholders and broader stakeholders.

CSOs play a critical role in building ESG programs that can deliver five key outcomes.

The activity among financial institutions to define, standardize, and assess ESG activities and disclosures is intense. Many of them have made progress by establishing financing commitments to advance environmental and social issues, setting zero-carbon targets, and releasing details in annual ESG reports.

See:  Why a shift to Impact Investing will create big winners and big losers

The goal is to work toward an ESG program that establishes:

  1. Standard ESG eligibility criteria, with continuity in investment and program goals across all global markets and front-office divisions.
  2. A control framework that mitigates reputational risks inherent in external reporting.
  3. A global operating model, optimized for deal tagging and commercial allocations.
  4. Technology enablement for a modern, integrated approach to firmwide ESG data aggregation, with a reporting solution that operates across divisions and global product distribution.
  5. A culture shift that supports applying an “ESG lens” to all transaction commercial decision making.

While the aim is to eventually harmonize global ESG standards, CSOs should continue to focus on identifying and accumulating relevant ESG data, with transparency and controls, to demonstrate their firm’s integrity around ESG commitments and disclosures for investors, counterparties and employees.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The evolution of ESG:  Corporate sustainability leaders in the financial services sector are taking on new responsibilities The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Cryptocurrency and energy consumption debate

TechCrunch | Leigh Cuen | Mar 21, 2021

crypto energy consumption debate - Cryptocurrency and energy consumption debateEnergy consumption has become the latest flashpoint for cryptocurrency. Critics decry it as an energy hog while proponents hail it for being less intensive than the current global economy.

One such critic, DigiEconomist founder Alex de Vries, said he’s “never seen anything that is as inefficient as bitcoin.”

On the other side of the debate, research by ARK Investment Management found the Bitcoin ecosystem consumes less than 10% of the energy required for the traditional banking system. While it’s true the banking system serves far more people, cryptocurrency is still maturing and, like any industry, the early infrastructure stage is particularly intensive.

The cryptocurrency mining industry, which garnered almost $1.4 billion in February 2021 alone, is not yet unusually terrible for the environment compared to other aspects of modern life in an industrialized society. Even de Vries told TechCrunch that if eco-conscious regulators “took all possible actions against Bitcoin, it’s unlikely you’d get all governments to go along with that” mining regulation.

“Ideally, change comes from within,” de Vries said, adding he hopes Bitcoin Core developers will alter the software to require less computational energy. “I think Bitcoin consumes half as much energy as all the world’s data centers at the moment.”

According to the University of Cambridge’s bitcoin electricity consumption index, bitcoin miners are expected to consume roughly 130 Terawatt-hours of energy (TWh), which is roughly 0.6% of global electricity consumption. This puts the bitcoin economy on par with the carbon dioxide emissions of a small, developing nation like Sri Lanka or Jordan. Jordan, in particular, is home to 10 million people. It’s impossible to say how many people use bitcoin every month, and they certainly use it less often than residents in Amman use Jordanian dinars. But CoinMetrics data indicates more than 1 million bitcoin addresses are active, daily, out of up to 106 million accounts active in the past decade, as tallied by the exchange Crypto.com.

See:  How This Billionaire-Backed Crypto Startup Gets Paid To Not Mine Bitcoin

“We get the total population of unique bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) users by counting the total number of addresses from listed exchanges, subtracting addresses owned by the same users on multiple exchanges,” said a Crypto.com spokesperson. “We then further reduce this number by accounting for users who own both ETH and BTC.”

That’s a lot of people using these financial networks. Plus, many bitcoin mining businesses rely on environmentally friendly energy sources like hydropower and capturing natural gas leaks from oil fields. A mining industry veteran, Compass Mining COO Thomas Heller, said Chinese hydropower mines in Sichuan and Yunnan get cheaper electricity during the wet season. They continue to use hydropower all year, he added, although it’s less profitable during the annual dry season.

“The electricity price outside of May to October [wet season] is much more expensive,” Heller said. “However, some farms do have water supply in other parts of the year.”

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