ESG in banking: How banks can adapt their strategy to appeal to an increasingly socially conscious audience

Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally and socially conscious, actively seeking out products and services that align with their values. And many businesses across various sectors are responding to this shift by adopting eco-friendly practices and developing green products to meet ambitious Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. But while some industries are making significant strides, the banking sector still has work to do.

Banks are no strangers to incorporating new technologies od adhering to regulatory requirements. In recent years, only a few have taken the next step to incorporate sustainable consumer offerings into their product portfolio. This presents a significant opportunity for banks to differentiate themselves and capture the loyalty of environmentally conscious consumers.

By adopting ‘conscience banking’ - the act of consumers choosing financial institutions that implement socially responsible investment policies - and integrating ESG principles into their bank strategy, banks can not only align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also enhance customer experiences and contribute to a greener future.

The content of this publication has not been approved by the United Nations and does not reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or Member States.



As we’ll explore further, banks can easily meet their customers’ growing desire for more sustainable financial offerings by leveraging their digital channels (mobile banking aps, web banking portals or digital wallet solutons). Doing so will enable them to stay competitive, attract new customers and make a positive social and environmental impact, ultimately contributing to the UN’s SDGs.

Public desire for sustainability is growing

An Ipsos study shows that 31% of consumers actively seek out sustainable, organic and fair-trade products. Notably, the study found that these consumers are willing to pay a 10% premium for these products, which highlights the potential for companies to differentiate themselves and secure a competitive edge.

Further research shows that the trend should continue to grow at a faster rate since millennials (25-40 year olds) are more environmentally and socially conscious than previous generations. A Fidelity study shows that 65% of millennials prefer to buy from socially responsible companies.

A growing demand for sustainable products and services (and a willingness to pay a premium for them) presents a significant opportunity for banks to enhance their offerings and capture the loyalty of environmentally conscious consumers.

"The banking industry has so far been slow to capitalise on this growing desire for sustainable financial products. Instead of adopting sustainable practices and actively guiding customers towards more conscientious choices, many are failing to address the needs of their younger audiences.

As a result, many banks risk losing relevance and market share to more progressive competitors. To succeed in the future, financial institutions will need to recognise the value of sustainability and take proactive steps to integrate ESG principles into their bank strategy and services."

Matthias Johannes Salmon

Business Development Executive

Banks must leverage their digital banking channels to enhance their sustainability offering

For banks wanting to capitalize on the growing trend toward sustainable financial products and services, there are many existing technologies that can be leveraged.

CO2  tracking is available in our Mobile and Web Banking solutions, and we have gone even a step further with our ToPay Green, which, as an SDK, can be easily integrated into any bank’s existing app or within Netcetera’s own white-label Mobile Wallet solution. By analyzing a user’s individual transaction data, ToPay Green allows a bank’s customers to track their equivalent CO2 emissions, freshwater consumption, and social costs. And it takes it a step further by actively encouraging users to reduce their carbon footprint using gamification.

This heightened awareness encourages users to make more sustainable decisions, such as choosing to commute using an e-bike or choosing more eco-friendly food delivery services. The SDK can be quickly and easily implemented, seamlessly enriching the bank’s offering and strengthening its appeal to the growing segment of environmentally aware customers.

Transforming banking for a greener future

As the demand for more sustainable financial offerings continues to grow, the time for banks to leverage their Digital Banking solutions to integrate ESG principles into their consumer offerings is now. Like many strategic changes, it will be executives and ESG managers who’ll need to champion this change within their business.


If your banking app is missing a CO2 tracker, contact us to see how incorporating our solution could help your business provide greater value to a fast-growing segment of environmentally aware customers.

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