Beyond Investing – How the Finance Industry Can Achieve Holistic Sustainability


This is a clarion call for all industries to redouble their efforts to positively impact the environment by ‘acting, not reacting’ – particularly the banking and finance sector, which has a significant influence on global consumption and production patterns and will finance the transformation to climate-resilient economies.

The Australian Sustainable Finance Roadmap, which was launched in 2020, shows the sector’s grasp of its impact on the environment, and it has set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Many long-term policies, however, will not be implemented until 2030, leaving a vacuum in consumer awareness of financial products and their long-term impact in the interim. To close the short-term gap, industry participants should work with partners who manufacture sustainable products, as well as implement greener practices, program, and projects that have a visible beneficial impact on the environment.

Among the important program is the global effort with UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) to abolish the use of microplastics and to reduce the excessive, wasteful use of single-use plastic in order to battle plastic pollution.

The ANZ area has seen a growth in digitalization and e-commerce, prompting broad use of digital payment systems. With Australia expected to be 98 percent cashless by 2024, there is an opportunity for the industry to adopt sustainable financial technology (FinTech) and design customer-centric solutions while reducing environmental impact. For example, despite the fact that 47 percent of Australians now utilize some sort of contactless payment, debit card use continues to be popular.

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This opens the door for new, creative card services that include unique payment technology while utilizing sustainable materials such as recycled PVC for smarter, greener solutions. In reality, the ecosystem is shifting in favor of this trajectory; following Visa, Mastercard recently recognized IDEMIA’s end-to-end sustainable approach to the complete payment card lifecycle by certifying GREENPAY cards produced from recycled plastic materials in August 2021.

In addition to eco-friendly cards, completely digital cards give additional payment options for customers while increasing potential for service providers to provide flexible but environmentally friendly payment experiences.

They are essentially functionally comparable to traditional physical cards – except that they are displayed digitally on mobile applications, websites, or digital wallets – and may be produced to conveniently make one-time or numerous payments.

By removing the need for physical card production and accompanying logistics, these cards help service providers achieve their sustainability targets while also lowering the industry’s total environmental impact as they gain acceptance throughout the world.

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