Skip to main content
Iran fintech startup Scott Peterson/Getty Images

Greening Digital Finance

Digital finance has turned out to be an unexpected revolutionary, simply by enabling low-cost financial inclusion. But if fintech is to reach its potential to advance the global public good, another factor must be accounted for: the environment.

BEIJING – Digital finance has turned out to be an unexpected revolutionary, simply by enabling low-cost financial inclusion. Thanks to new financial technologies (fintech), consumers can shop seamlessly, migrants can send hard-earned money to their families cheaply, small businesses can access credit in minutes through Big Data-driven profiling, and savers can shape their own investment destinies. But if fintech is to reach its potential to advance the global public good, another factor must be accounted for: the environment.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently published a report, “Fintech and Sustainable Development: Assessing the Implications,” exploring how digital finance can be leveraged for environmental gains. As the report points out, by reducing costs and boosting efficiency, fintech is already mobilizing green finance, enabling poorer people to access clean energy through innovative payment systems and facilitating green savings for rich and poor alike.

The Swedish start-up Trine, for example, enables savers in downtown Stockholm to fund distributed solar-energy systems in rural areas thousands of kilometers away. Kenya’s M-KOPA is leveraging the hugely successful domestic mobile payments platform, M-PESA, to make clean energy available to poorer communities. Other experiments highlight the green potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/ZPe9Dvy;
  1. benami154_Yousef MasoudSOPA ImagesLightRocket via Getty Images_palestine Yousef Masoud/SOPA IMAGES/LightRocket via Getty Images

    Forgetting Palestine

    Shlomo Ben-Ami

    The two-state solution is virtually dead in the water, and the international community has largely abandoned the Palestinian cause. At this point, there is little to stop Israel from cementing the one-state reality that its right-wing government has long sought, regardless of whether that leads to a permanent civil war.

  2. sachs313_SebastionBozonAFPGettyImages_EUflagtrump Sebastion Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

    Europe Must Oppose Trump

    Jeffrey D. Sachs

    European leaders should recognize that a significant majority of Americans reject Trump’s malignant narcissism. By opposing Trump and defending the international rule of law, Europeans and Americans together can strengthen world peace and transatlantic amity for generations to come.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions