European fintechs foster sustainable ecosystemR
ecent efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices suggest sustainability is top of mind for European fintechs. On March 24, 2022, Munich-based Giesecke+Devrient disclosed it is helping fintechs attract eco-conscious customers. On the same day, London-based firms Allstar and Zap-Map revealed plans to streamline payments at UK charging stations.
Dr. Carsten Wengel, head of global sales and distribution in the Card and Digital Payment business at G+D, observed that sustainable lifestyles and business practices are on trend. "We are the best partner for fintechs in providing not only eco-innovative payment cards, but a network of eco-conscious partners that bring extra value to their offerings," he said.
Alex Earl, commercial director at Zap-Map, said his company's mission is to make charging simple by enabling EV drivers to "search for charge points, plan longer electric journeys, pay on multiple networks, and share updates with other EV drivers – all in one app."
Paul Holland, managing director, UK Fuel at Allstar Business Solutions, agreed, calling his company's partnership with Zap-Map a key strategic move. "Together we are able to support businesses through every step of their EV charging journey, whether that's making it easier to search for a charging location, offering route planning and live updates on the status of charging points, or easing the payment process," he said.
Developing an enterprise sustainability plan may seem monumental in scope but achievable if separated into distinct initiatives, G+D experts noted, adding that payment cards would be a good starting point for developing eco-friendly products. Following are their recommendations.
- Make the card experience sustainable: Payment cards can be made of recycled PVC or biomass-based PLA, which are non-pollutant and compostable, requiring less energy to produce and recycle. These cards would remind consumers at each payment transaction of their commitment to an eco-friendlier lifestyle.
- Include the entire life cycle: Sustainable payment cards should be backed with environmentally friendly welcome letters on climate-neutral paper and companies that use sustainable processes for producing and destroying cards. Recycling solutions should ideally meet specific needs of card issuers and contribute to a more circular economy.
- Offer a 'phygital' experience: Analog communication channels require paperwork and physical documentation but digital tools can eliminate this type of waste. For example, an ePIN service would enable banks to send paperless PINs to customers via mobile app or SMS. In addition, integrating QR codes and augmented reality solutions into the carrier letters of the cards, sales and marketing content would be paperless. Many banking are adopting a hybrid approach with on-demand printing of letters, flyers and other materials for payment cards in place of mass production.
- Involve environmental-oriented organizations: Environmental companies and networks such as Parley for the Oceans can help fintechs implement sustainable solutions. Driven by a dynamic group spirit, these groups offer transparency and expertise to fintechs, who can use their work and credibility to leverage their sustainability agenda.
- Encourage to take climate action every day: Ideally, fintechs' eco-innovative cards, connected with other environmental and social responsibility initiatives, would engage customers and encourage them to take personal responsibility for the planet. This could include funding for tree planting, for example, or a carbon footprint calculator for consumers.
Wengel noted that the G+D Convego Natural Card is made of 100 percent PLA, an environmentally friendly, bio-based raw material, and encouraged the fintech community to follow suit. "[G+D] is a partner for fintechs in providing not only eco-innovative payment cards, but a network of eco-conscious partners that bring extra value to their offerings," he said.
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