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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


November 2017 –The Fintech Taskforce, convened by CISL’s Banking Environment Initiative, today presents its recommendations on how to design collaboration between multinationals, financial institutions and starts-ups to help solve critical global challenges.

Fintech ReportThe Taskforce, made up of representatives from across these sectors was created at a Chief Executive summit convened by HRH The Prince of Wales in early 2017. Its mandate was to address the practical dynamic of how to design better multi-sector collaboration to innovate fintech solutions for sustainability. The 10 recommendations in its report, Catalysing Fintech for Sustainability: Lessons from multi-sector innovation, represent insights gathered from an intense six-month period of collaboration. The findings are most relevant to these sectors but also to governments, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Andrew Voysey, CISL’s Director for Sustainable Finance said:

There is a rising awareness about the potential for technology-driven innovation in finance (‘fintech’) to be harnessed to support sustainable development. If done well, this could be transformative. However, meaningful opportunities are being overlooked because multi-sector innovation does not happen easily on its own. Front and centre of the Taskforce’s recommendations published today is the need to create 'Fintech for Sustainability' catalysts to trigger targeted, collaborative multi-sector innovation to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.”

The report proposes that every 'Fintech for Sustainability' catalyst would support a portfolio of innovation projects, each focused on a specific challenge. Each round of innovation would be anchored by at least one organisation with the commercial motivation, and the ability, to implement the solution at scale and each would specifically aim to help more capital to become available to deliver at least one UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Taking the time to design for industry-wide scale would be paramount.

Such catalysts would need to be located to benefit from physical access to as wide as possible a selection of multinationals, financial institutions and start-ups and would use well-established innovation practices to deliver professional governance, including of competitive boundaries and IP. Success would be measured by the delivery of commercially viable solutions, and an independent party, which has sufficient expertise in fintech, finance and sustainable development, would need to be awarded the mandate to structure the innovation process.

Realising the opportunities within reach will require new effort both from the current Taskforce members and many others around the world. The recommendations of the Taskforce could be delivered within existing collaborative structures, lead to the establishment of new structures, or a combination of both. The promise of both commercial and societal reward should provide the necessary motivation to all involved to put these design principles into practice.