By Rory Spurway, CEO & Founder of CarbonPay
Sustainability has been a major point of conversation over the course of the last few years; however, more recently, public attention has significantly grown due to the disconcerting levels of CO2 emissions contributing to global warming. As people begin to realise that any impact on the planet also impacts their daily lives, there’s an increased interest in undertaking sustainable actions to help drive progress toward net-zero. Additionally, employees are also holding businesses more accountable than ever before, regarding how they approach sustainability. Beyond this, 6 in 10 consumers think UK based businesses need to do more to tackle climate change and cut emissions. Therefore, innovation and accessibility are key to ensure we meet the target to reduce 100% of emissions by 2050.
Current sustainability initiatives are falling short
There has been a stark increase in the number of green pledges and initiatives that businesses are implementing across a broad range of sectors. Last year, the total number of companies disclosing their greenhouse gas emissions increased by 70 percent from 2015. These initiatives often take the form of paperless offices, plastic reduction pledges, and tree planting campaigns. While these are great steps in the right direction, broadcasting green promises with little traceable payoff is greenwashing. This practice is not only counterproductive to environmental progress, but also increases the likelihood of consumers distrusting other businesses’ efforts. Championing one-dimensional initiatives often results in solutions that puts business at the heart of the priority, rather than the planet. It also means companies aren’t effectively measuring progress in a way that holds them accountable.
Companies need to be transparent and committed to ensuring those associated with their brand are making a sustainable difference. Not enough CEOs are thinking like CSOs. Traditional CEOs tend to narrow their focus on business and financial operations – delegating the need to think about CSR to CSOs. What if CEOs and other C-Suite executives adopted a more robust mindset and thought about problems in the same way CSOs are? The CSO role is growing, but these individuals are few and far between. In the meantime, we need to better equip and inform the general level of C-Suites to think and act like CSOs.
Where does fintech come in?
Fintech and innovation go hand-in-hand – both are critical when tackling the imminence of global warming and its damaging effects. When it comes to technological innovation, the fintech industry has experienced some of the most rapid growth. New technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, and creative innovations within the payments sector have disrupted how businesses can make a positive impact on the environment. Fintech is a uniquely positioned industry to lead this initiative, given a wide variety of financial products and technologies serve as a bridge between businesses and decarbonisation.
The greatest contribution that the fintech industry can make towards reducing emissions comes from partnerships with other businesses. From a B2B standpoint, fintech can bridge the gap between other industries and catalyse positive climate action. The banking and payments sector, in particular, have greatly helped pave a way for businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. Removing the barriers that make taking positive climate action challenging and replacing those barriers with convenience stimulants is imperative to making sustainability accessible. According to the Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor report, many of the world’s biggest companies are failing to meet their own sustainability targets; which makes the broader concept of setting targets almost redundant when it comes to corporate efforts.
So, how can we challenge businesses to think about the environment when it comes to their corporate and social responsibility in a way that’s going to genuinely move the needle? One option is enabling their employees to take easy, small, and positive steps at work. Too often, the individual’s activity towards combating climate change stops when they arrive at work. Empowering employees to actually make positive changes in all avenues of life allows climate action to be more simple, accessible and effective within businesses as a whole.
Rory Spurway, Founder & CEO of CarbonPay
Rory Spurway is the Founder and CEO of CarbonPay, a sustainable fintech platform. CarbonPay is the new way to pay that makes everyday climate action simpler by automatically offsetting CO2 every time you pay.
The inspiration for the company came from Rory’s drive to promote systemic change by making climate action simple, accessible and automatic for businesses and consumers.
Rory’s passion for the planet stems from his love of nature; being in the mountains skiing, being out in the ocean surfing, kitesurfing and sailing. Rory is committed to implementing actionable change to help in the fight against the planet’s protection.
Prior to founding CarbonPay, Rory served as founder and CEO of Horizon SaaS, a software as a service platform with clients including WEX inc.