Fintech and Sustainable Development
Date: 03 Mar 2016
UNEP’s “The Financial System We Need” marks a significant step forward but is nevertheless wrong or at least inadequate in (at least) one major respect. The financial system is under-going profound change that has not been addressed in UNEP’s work to date. In part these changes result from the policy and regulatory moves following in the wake of the financial crisis. But more important are the disruptions to the financial system underpinned by ‘fintech’.
Exploring the nexus between fintech-driven changes to financial and capital markets and sustainable development outcomes is a task that UNEP has taken on this year. It turns out that this topic is entirely under-researched. What is out there is largely one sided, positively or negatively. Furthermore, what is out there is in the main limited to an examination of fragments, such as impact investing, mobile payment platforms, crowd-sourcing, blockchain or high speed trading.
So this year, UNEP has commissioned some work, drawing in external researchers, particularly Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, and is setting up an advisory group to guide the work and planning an off site in July to discuss its preliminary findings.
Thanks to the many people I have talked to over the last weeks on this topic in shaping our understanding of the topic and how best we might address it in a useful way. Please if there are studies, cases and frameworks that you think might be useful to this work, let us know.