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European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

Funding Call
Two young people in front of a mountain panorama hold an EU flag

Advancing Sustainability in the Digitalisation of the EU’s Financial Sector

Grantee

Österreichische Gesellschaft für Umwelt und Technik (ÖGUT)

Duration

completed

2021-11-20 till 2023-02-28

Location

Austria, Estonia, Ukraine

Funding Amount

184,700.00 €

Project background

The motivation for the project stems from previous work that explored the synergies between the EU’s FinTech Action Plan and the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan. In order to harness the creative power of FinTech companies to advance sustainable finance through tailored digital solutions, both action plans should be interconnected as much as possible. This way, a contribution to reaching the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the EU level can be realized. 

The project focusses on Austria and Estonia as EU member countries, and Ukraine as a neighbouring country. Austria has developed a Green Finance Agenda closely linked to the efforts of the EU to advance sustainable finance. The fields of digitization and sustainable finance are at the top of the list for financial market regulators. Challenges relate to the missing connection between FinTechs and the respective country’s sustainable finance agenda. Estonia has a high level of IT affinity and offers a vibrant FinTech market. However, it has become evident that there are still gaps in Estonian banks’  ESG-related efforts. The major challenge is to direct the vibrant FinTech sector towards sustainability concerns. Ukraine offers an immense IT talent pool and a lot of support for FinTechs. Major challenges, however, include the overall low awareness on sustainability issues in both countries, including in the FinTech sector. 
 

Project goals and measures

The project aims to provide in-depth insights into sustainable digital finance at the EU- and national level. At the core of sustainable digital finance is the question of how digital technologies can support sustainable economic management and sustainable financing, respectively. A particular focus is on better understanding current barriers in the market and developing proposals to overcome them. Bringing together stakeholders and decision-makers in the countries of implementation and at the EU-level will facilitate overcoming existing challenges and reduce the separation of digitization and sustainability in the financial market. Further insights from two case studies on Germany and Switzerland will contribute to and enrich the overall findings and recommendations.

In order to obtain in-depth information on the status quo of sustainable digital finance in the EU, interviews with relevant stakeholder and decision-makers in the three implementing countries will be conducted. The results from the interviews and further relevant aspects will be discussed in more depth in one roundtable per country. The results of the interviews and roundtables will be summarized in country reports. As a final step, another round of interviews will be conducted with stakeholders at the EU-level, with the results to be discussed in a final round table at the EU-level once again. This exchange aims to advance the understanding of current challenges related to the promotion of sustainable digital finance on multiple levels inside the EU and its neighboring countries, while at the same time paving the way for the increasing promotion of sustainable digital finance in the EU. The project’s findings will be used to formulate policy recommendations to (even) better exploit digitization opportunities for a sustainable financial sector.