Maddie, Environment & Sustainability Analyst, talks about her role in Finastra's Environment Mission
Coming to Finastra, I was taken aback by how intrinsic ESG is to Finastra’s DNA. Our ESG team was actually a people-led initiative, which had a huge impact when it was pitched to our CEO, Simon Paris. The department has now been running for 20 months and has continued to grow, this shows how much of a grassroot movement ESG is here. ESG is at the heart of Finastra, enabling employees to engage with people, businesses and communities around the world. The way Finastra channels this action is through our “Heart Plus Smart” strategy, combining the heart - the desire to do good, with the knowledge and ability to do so.
Our ESG strategy engages our stakeholders through three key areas, or ‘pillars’. These are Financial Inclusion, increasing financial literacy rates, MSME funding and affordable accessibility for all to financial services, Social Equity, using technology to do good, by engaging youth, and investing in social mobility, and the Environment Mission our newest pillar, which completes our ESG strategy.
Like the Environment Mission, my role at Finastra is completely new: this role was an opportunity to go into Environmental ESG at an associate level, this is an unusual position but the perfect way to start a career in corporate sustainability, which is not often open to graduates and younger professionals. The finance industry is one of the most at risk because of climate, often investing in companies that have high carbon footprints, in which people are de-investing. By working in a fintech, a company which works so closely with other financial services companies such as banks, there is an opportunity to make a change – we are naturally reducing carbon emissions of these companies through digitalization of their services and digitization of their processes, but I believe we can do so much more for our customers.
Our new goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 is something I feel passionately about. This goal of carbon neutrality is something which will require support from everyone across the business. However, I’ve been really surprised, in a positive way, by how involved Finastra employees are with ESG. Everyone here has a real willingness to achieve, and there is a pressure, and expectation from all employees, which shows in our engagement. Still, 96% of the ESG workforce at Finastra is volunteers taking on extra work to support the causes in which they believe.
It’s not just about a reduction in current emissions, but also offsetting of the emissions which are impossible to avoid. We have a wide range of different carbon offsetting projects, for example forest protection project designed to reduce future emissions.
Planting trees is a great way to offset carbon emissions, as trees are ‘carbon sinks’; they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – one of the most powerful greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. Offsetting carbon is something any of us can do from our desk.
This week, we are celebrating Earth Day with various activities which our colleagues can get involved with virtually, such as sharing tips to lower your personal carbon footprint. The ESG Team are also hosting a global Earth Day call, with a guest speaker from our new ESG partner IDEAS For Us, who are a non-profit based in Orlando, USA. They specialize in approaching global environmental issues through localized projects, and we cannot wait to build our Environment Mission strategy through a partnership with them.
2020 is the year for me to settle into my role, and to build on, and develop this third pillar. There is a lot to do, but the future of finance is green at Finastra!
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