Ground-breaking UN-supported digital tool to enhance green finance

A fintech-powered global financial service that aligns with sustainability, for example, will include a “carbon account” aside from the usual savings and credit accounts, enabling users to earn rewards for making green lifestyle choices.

The United Nations environment agency and a the leading Chinese online financial service provider on 20 January rolled out an innovative programme at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, aiming to stimulate the advancement of digital technologies in green finance.

The ground-breaking initiative, the ‘Green Digital Finance Alliance,’ is a partnership between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Financial), China’s leading online and mobile financial services provider.

“The Green Digital Finance Alliance is a unique partnership ensuring that we can align tomorrow’s fintech-powered (financial technology) global financial system with sustainable development, said Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment.

Financing sustainable development, as one of the greatest challenges at the moment, requires ambition, innovation, and commitment, underpinned by effective collaboration.

The Green Digital Finance Alliance is a unique partnership ensuring that we can align tomorrow’s fintech-powered global financial system with sustainable development.

Erik Solheim, executive director, United Nations Environment Programme

“UN Environment is honoured to partner with Ant Financial in making green finance an integral part of the daily life of every individual and business,” he added.

The new initiative is committed to driving environmental risks, opportunities, incentives and choices into the decision-making across the financing value chain. And these can be achieved through market innovation, collaborative action and increased public awareness of sustainable development and green lifestyle choices.

“Ant Financial is a strong believer in green finance. Several of our products and services have been contributing to sustainable development,” said Eric Jing, Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial.

One such innovation is Ant Financial’s app, which provides users with a carbon account, in addition to their credit and saving accounts. Ant’s 450 million users in China are now able to benchmark their carbon footprint and to earn “green energy” credits for reducing their footprint.

Moreover, Ant Financial has integrated this function into a social media experience, as well as committing to a complementary, tree-planting carbon offset programme. As of today, 72 million users are participating in the app.

“Leveraging mobile Internet, cloud computing and big data, we can encourage our hundreds of millions of users to participate in a green lifestyle,” said Mr. Jing, adding that “we hope that the Green Digital Finance Alliance will contribute to shaping and accelerating this development.”

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