25 Replies Latest reply: Oct 31, 2017 5:48 PM by wt48 RSS

    Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?

    kmzz C4D Master

      Dear all,

       

      Fintech is part of a broader digital revolution, which also includes Big Data, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. The topic as such might not be totally new, but exploring the benefits for "green and socially responsible" development might be novel to many of us.

      During the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos (Jan 2017), a Green Digital Finance Alliance was launched to further explore the potential of digital finance to catalyse green finance. The alliance (initiated by ANT Financial Services Group and UNEP) brings together financial institutions committed to using digital technology to advance green finance in lending, investment and insurance.


      The qualities of digital finance / fintech include enabling low-cost financial inclusion, transparent transactions and links to big data. I believe this article "Greening Digital Finance" by Simon Zadek, Co-Director of the UNEP Inquiry into Design Options for a Sustainable Financial System provides a great starting point for anyone interested in the topic.


      • Who of you has experience with green fintech?
      • Is perhaps any of you involved in the GDFA or other initiatives on the topic?
      • What are elements of green digital finance?
      • Are there any pioneering cases that you would like to highlight/share?
      • What is your implementation experience with green digital finance?
      • Any thoughts on the topic?


      By sharing your thoughts and learnings with all of us, we can shape the topic further and create a knowledge base.

       

      Best regards,

      Karin

        • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
          808229 C4D Connoisseur

          Great post, Karin,

           

          My interest and experience with FinTech lies in two things: crowd-sourcing and digital currencies.

           

          Why crowdsourcing?

          Because new mechanisms for private sector leveraging is needed to address conservation funding needs, and successful models typically have involved separate investment entities. Examples of mass mobilization are funds like Betterment (Betterment is now worth $800 million, managing $10 billion in assets) , WealthFront and Personal Capital, managing from $4 to $10 billion in assets, while similar funds are expected to manage $489 billion by 2020 . Using online platforms and allowing access for individual investors (min $100 investment instead of thousands) can play a critical role in raising funds for green projects.

           

          Why digital currencies?

          Because it might be a good measure for non-financial returns - e.g. environmental impact and output-based aid, which is now being researched by several organizations.

          Wonder what all the fuzz is about digital currencies anyway? I did, too, and found the attached paper by the World Economic Forum to be most helpful in entering this space.


          Olha

          • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
            jordon C4D Master

            Aspiration is a bank that notifies customers on environmental and social impacts of purchasing practise, they have a low minimum deposit. Backbench is another fresh approach at focusing users on coding and design. https://backbench.io/about-us.html they also perform solutions for private wealth. It seems that the world of reflecting demand per capita and consumer choice has promoted low cost inclusion, however the difference in algo trading or management selection of portfolio inclusion is a distance from the sustainable metric. 

            • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
              jordon C4D Master

              Here is a link to Siamon Zadeck's initiative... Just needs some news.

              https://www.greendigitalfinance.org/publications

                • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                  kmzz C4D Master

                  Thank you for sharing, Jordon! The report you attach talks about ANT Forest, an application that "gamifies" carbon footprint tracking – cutting greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrating the massive potential of Fintech (financial technology) for supporting sustainable development.


                  How does the App work?

                  Having signed up to the ANT Forest App, ANT uses the individual’s behavioural data to assess their ‘avoided emissions’ compared to a pre-determined benchmark. For example, if a user purchases metro tickets or pays household utilities online rather than in person, or commutes by walking instead of driving, the avoided carbon emission will be recorded as saved energy.


                  The App has indeed seen large interest by users:

                  In only six months time (Aug 2016 to Jan 2017), 200 million people across China voluntarily joined the programme, i.e. about 44% of ANT’s user base in China, which translates into about 20% of China’s adult population or 3% of the world’s total population. Sustainable consumption choices resulted in an estimated 150,000 tons of cumulative avoided carbon emissions and over 1 million trees planted by January 2017.


                  More detailed FAQ on the ANT Forest App can be accessed here (pdf), e.g. on methodology used, type of trees planted etc.


                  @CoP Green Finance: Does anyone of our CoP have first hand experience for having signed up?

                • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                  kmzz C4D Master

                  Kfw's (German development bank) new blockchain tool for development cooperation (July 2017):  Video on Use of Blockchain in Kfw

                   

                  Currently piloted/tested in Zambia: TruBudget is a software that uses a distributed ledger to give donors and governments access to records of budgetary spending on schools and hospitals from the point of disbursement to subsequent transactions, such as procurement, contracting and implementation of a given project.

                   

                  “Blockchain increases transparency of data and processes for all partners, both donors and developing countries. The technology enables everyone to validate and trace the way funds are being used for their intended purpose.” Full article here (July 2017)

                  • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                    kmzz C4D Master

                    An example idea for an eco-cryptocurrency / marketplace initiated ECO2AFRICA, a pan-African NGO, is called Africa Green Crypto-Crowdfunding & Marketplace Blockchain Platform (ICO). The tool is presented as "Integrated Blockchain Crowdfunding and Marketplace Platform aligned to the SDGs and the African Green Transformation". The Platform is designed to narrow access to seed funding, venture and investment to Africa based Eco-Enterprises and Startups".

                     

                    How shall it work? (extract from above website)

                    The general objective will be to develop and issue an Eco-token to value natural resources across the commodity green value chains; to trace, certify, exchange and trade Eco-tokens against eco-friendly products and services, reward and fund projects and startups, specifically those complying to the green/bio standards and labels, or those aligned/conformed/respectful of sustainable production and consumption patterns/standards/labels of commodities and natural/ecological resources in the African landscapes.

                    Pilot commodity chains, ecosystem and environmental friendly products, services, standards and label will be prioritized for exchange and trading within the prototype platform.


                    They propose to switch from the initial old crowdfunding model (Indiegogo Model & als)" to a genuine Eco-token ICO currency and Blockchain Crypto-platform Model.

                    In order to achieve this objectives, the NGO is looking for co-founders, as well as blockchain, cryptocurrency, finance and environmental technology and communication experts to setup the project team that will handle and finalize the concept proposal, coordinate and lead the platform prototype development.

                     

                    Darnley Howard - perhaps the above idea is of interest to you?

                    • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                      jordon C4D Master

                      Quite happy that you reccomended Impact Alpha! the following is a link to an article describing impact theory, globally there is the issue of balancing data with social credibility or trust, where there is aversion to inclusion in providing depth with metrics. We get into misalignment with the community when value is at steak with differing opinions. Catherine McKenna our Canadian environment minister has referenced this as a unity issue. On the topic of impact management, there is the tendency for entry to limit service where data does not exist, time elapsed for data to precede deployment is an obstacle.

                      Biotic harmony is conducive as well as distention. Relaxation and trust are reciprocal.

                       

                      https://news.impactalpha.com/impact-management-how-the-right-data-can-drive-performance-for-people-and-the-planet-5c3db1…

                      • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                        jordon C4D Master

                        The following is a list of links to a simplified structure for generating a cogent platform for sustainability or specifically carbon assessment,  using the first document we could use natural language processing described in the Stanford paper to originate a financial instrument structure, then integrate aggregation similar to Bloomberg Terminal then algorithms and finally analysis, some of witch could be integrated with mapping.

                         

                        http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/accounting/docs/consolidated/ias39_en.pdf

                        https://web.stanford.edu/class/cs124/lec/Information_Extraction_and_Named_Entity_Recognition.pdf

                        Stocks - Bloomberg

                        http://www.david-anthoff.com/AnthoffJobmarketPaper.pdf

                        https://chatbotsmagazine.com/machine-learning-neural-networks-and-algorithms-5c0711eb8f9a

                        Energy Multi-Criteria Analysis Tool - Energy Multi-Criteria Analysis tool - IIASA

                        Modeling Framework | PNNL: Fundamental & Computational Sciences - PRIMA

                        • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                          jordon C4D Master

                          Some of the information available would be prime objects for collaboration to guide clients issuers and regions. There is such a thing as code conversion if I am not mistaken, happy to help, here's to hoping it does.

                           

                          TRI-Listed Chemicals | Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program | US EPA

                          Carbon map – which countries are responsible for climate change? | Environment | The Guardian

                          • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                            jordon C4D Master

                            Here is a talk on programming constraint structure from the IMF, some of witch is in Matlab the other is a working paper : Investing to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change, witch includes a Framework Integrated Assessment Model

                            Hopefully there is permissiveness with this brief quote.

                            .....

                             

                            We however follow the approach of William Nordhaus’s DICE model in which optimal environmental/economic pathways are jointly determined by numerical optimization. In order to do so, we solve the model with the nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) algorithm (see Gr¨une et al., 2015). As explained in section 4, NMPC imbues our agents with some myopia: The agents solve for the approximately optimal dynamic pathway only over short time 7See Bonen et al. (2014) for a discussion of the implementation strategies in leading IAMs. 8 horizons, but do so iteratively so as to update these short-term projections. The lack of perfect foresight allows us to integrate differing degrees of climatological uncertainty as the agents move forward through time with their updated finite-horizon decisions.8 This approach expands the complexity of the dynamic optimization problem while maintaining significant analytical traction.

                             

                            http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/images/docs/research/climate_change/Semmler_IMF_talk_2.pdf

                            • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                              jusoaresf C4D Enthusiast

                              Hi Karin,
                              Thanks for welcoming me and all the good articles. Looks like it is going to take me a little to grasp the content

                              Meanwhile... Yes, I am from IT and have joined forces with BVRio.org where we are discussing/drafting a project to leverage BVRio knowledge and our ideas into a Decentralized Payments for Environmental Services incentive platform with blockchain technology in the back end.

                              I would love to to discuss/hear from anyone with similar interests or kin to join efforts, talents, opinions or in any way contribute to advance this topic.

                              Best regards,

                              Julio

                                • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                  carolinplanitzer C4D Enthusiast

                                  Hi Julio,

                                   

                                  on my team in WWF we are working with several governments in South America and Asia on exploring and designing Payments for Ecosystem Services, most of the time in the context of protected areas as providers of these ecosystem services. It would be great to learn more about your initiative and its ultimate objective and scope! Could you provide some more information or a link to your initiative? Thank you!

                                    • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                      jusoaresf C4D Enthusiast

                                      Hi Carolin,

                                      It's nice hearing from you and is great to learn that there are so many

                                      initiatives in Payments for Ecosystem Services.

                                      What I am trying to build is an "incentive platform for environmental

                                      services".

                                      I drew inspiration both from "Payments for Ecosystem Services" and from

                                      BVRio's "Reverse Logistic" program in solid waste management.

                                      The idea of rewarding land owners for refraining to compromise watersheds,

                                      deforesting and so on, with resources raised from the beneficiaries of the

                                      resulting effects has been in the back of my mind ever since I've first

                                      heard of it.

                                      Then, BVRio's Reverse Logistic program case.

                                      Due to economic pressure and lack of opportunities, part of the poorest

                                      folks in Brazil have since long resorted to waste picking in the slumps and

                                      on the streets for any raw material that can be sold to recycling plants.

                                      In fact Brazil has became the worldwide leader in aluminum recycling. But

                                      besides glass, metal and paper, there was not enough intrinsic value on

                                      PET, for instance, to get waste pickers interest on going after it.

                                      Meanwhile, Brazilian environmental legislation was aiming to force an

                                      industry "who" released a packaging in the environment is legally and

                                      economically responsible for taking it back/out from the environment.

                                      The industries naturally have lobbied to avoid the unbearable costs and to

                                      allow them to comply alternatively by creating a compensation of sorts -

                                      planting trees, creating a foundation or whatever - to "mitigate" their

                                      environmental impact.

                                      Then the folks at BVRio had an insight.

                                      While organized waste pickers (catadores in portuguese) where being paid a

                                      somehow fair/market price for their aluminum/glass/paper production, nobody

                                      was paying them for the environmental services they provide "as

                                      collateral"(i.e. to take the waste material from the environment and to

                                      bring it to a recycling plant).

                                      Making it short... BVRio now raises funds within the Industries, NGOs and

                                      private donor communities to pay the waste picker cooperatives based on

                                      their verified production (on top of the income they already get from the

                                      raw material sale).

                                      This caused such a big impact on theirs family income that most of the

                                      participants have also engaged in collecting PET bottles too.

                                      All brought together I started thinking...

                                      There are probably many other kinds of "environmental services" that go

                                      unrecognized not to mention unrewarded.

                                      And could that make a difference?

                                      Well... I've been sorting out our trash for decades now but I have never

                                      succeeded to convince my own sisters to do so even after years awareness

                                      speech.

                                      Economic reward on the other hand... The waste pickers suddenly starting to

                                      pick up PET while it was being left behind just a little while ago look

                                      like a good sign to me. A farmer keeping himself from exploring lucrative

                                      crops in favor of a little woods too.

                                      So what else could qualify and what would be the requirements?

                                      The main requirement I think is: It has to be verifiable.

                                      For instance:

                                      - The homeowner that installed a solar panel and is selling his energy

                                      surplus back to the power company - He is on about the same scenario. He is

                                      being paid for the energy he provides but haveno reward for the

                                      environmental service he provides. The metering is already in place and

                                      could be used to calculate his incentive.

                                      - The package free supermarket (and it's customers) that are avoiding to

                                      release a lot of solid waste in the environment. idem.

                                      - The heads of family in many places here in Europe who have to buy

                                      expensive official trash bags from the town services (they don't take your

                                      trash out if it is in the wrong bags) as a mean to force you to

                                      recycle/compost as much as you can to avoid using many bags. We could use

                                      the official bags receipts for instance.

                                      - The waste pickers of other countries.

                                      - The existing PES programs.

                                      - car pools,

                                      - beach cleaners,

                                      and so on.

                                      My assumption is that most of us who might not care to clean after

                                      ourselves even though it's the right thing to do, might well do it because

                                      it get them "free money" in their pockets.

                                      If even after sorting out recyclables I still I spend 300 EUR in plastic

                                      bags a year and my neigbhour, who does the same, still gets back, say, 60

                                      EUR. For doing the exact same thing. I might start doing it his way as

                                      well.

                                      If I had a solar panel on my roof that would lower my bill by x% from the

                                      power company plus y% from the environmental service I could be saving as

                                      much as my friend jack is doing...

                                      And so on.

                                      That is the overall idea of what I am trying to get rolling.

                                      I would deeply appreciate you letting me know any thoughts, inputs,

                                      suggestions, critics, pros, cons, etc you might have.

                                      Best regards,

                                      Julio

                                       

                                      On 23 October 2017 at 15:40, Carolin Planitzer <

                                        • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                          jordon C4D Master

                                          Some good ideas for sure, the concept of funding work on environmental programs where municipalities have access to internal decisions is key. Do you have links to some of the original documentation on programs you are referring to?  What kind of system do you need and how much would it cost, do you need to design an application? Best, Jordon

                                            • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                              jusoaresf C4D Enthusiast

                                              Hi Jordon,


                                              On Payments for Ecosystems Services documentation I think a good starting point would be wiki Payment for ecosystem services - Wikipedia

                                               

                                              BVRio's Reverse Logistic program (along with other programs) can be seen on BVRio.org website http://bvrio.org/setores/residuos-solidos/embalagens/
                                              unfortunately in Portuguese only. There is a google translator widget on the page but the result translation would need a little effort from readers.


                                              The involvement of municipalities is circumstantial. I refer to municipalities as an example as It happens that they are in many places the ones dealing with most house hold/solid waste management. But using the same example, private alternative waste management companies could act in the same role.

                                               

                                              The aim is to build a decentralized, borderless, volunteer incentives program based on a blockchain platform that creates, distributes (pay), stores and trade our own tokens in reward for different kinds of Environmental Services.


                                              Token holders can use their tokes directly, trading with other participants, or exchange it for local fiat money when needed.


                                              As per blockchain's basic features the inner works of the platform itself ensures a shared, distributed, permanent, tamper-proof ledger built by distributed trustless consensus algorithms.

                                               

                                              Critical trust is still needed where the system interfaces with real world. That's where the municipality, association, company, cooperative, etc come in to action.

                                               

                                              When some one say "here it is a ton of plastic I brought myself" we need to be able to check it out before rewarding it.

                                               

                                              BVRio's reverse logistic program for instance checks if the sales receipt that a waste picker presents has in fact a counter part with the recycling company who bought his production. If it is the case the transaction is validated as good.

                                               

                                              Same would be valid for a package-free supermarket relationship with its customers. We could cross check receipts/payments.

                                               

                                              These source of trust "entities" or "oracles" are where most of the work and investment has to be done. But these could be built incrementally, case by case in separate projects.

                                               

                                              In fact I believe it will be in the best interest of many use cases to invest independently to join the platform.

                                               

                                              I believe the users base will play an important role on that and unlike most existing tokens/crypt-currencies (e.g. bitcoin, ether...) we won't have an important entry barrier: No person have to buy/invest in our tokens in order to participate. All it would take is for one to engage and contribute with measurable environment actions. Which many already do for free or with costs btw.

                                               

                                              Companies who need to mitigate their activity's impact can buy our tokens in an exchange and use them to pay back the network which could then reuse (recycle) them for new environmental services payments.

                                               

                                              Thank you for your message an I hope to keep the conversation going.

                                               

                                              best,

                                               

                                              Julio

                                      • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                        kmzz C4D Master

                                        Dear Julio,

                                         

                                        that's a very interesting concept you are looking at. I'm working on circular economy approaches, and how to finance them.

                                        Like, you, I have been puzzled about what goes unnoticed and unrewarded.

                                        Therefore I'm very interested in your case. I think that you are right that verification is key. 

                                        1. I find it particularly interesting to learn that you had an impact on the PET market. I work in South-East Asia where PET has a high value hence is being picked up - other than low value plastics like plastic bags, straws, etc. Could you elaborate a little on the PET market in Brazil, what is the market value, and are there recyclers in-country, or where does the recycling or re-purposing (incineration?) take place.
                                        2. I'm not yet very familiar with the benefits that blockchain can bring in such cases, how the verification would need to look like, and which hardware (technology) needs to be coupled in where/when. Perhaps we can together develop it further together.

                                         

                                        Best wishes,

                                        Karin

                                        • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                          advansa C4D Explorer

                                          I'm interested in green finance [waste-to-fuel project in Ghana will need capital] and interested in digital finance to beef up financial inclusion--so definitely need to understand digital green finance. We're looking for examples of the advantages of blockchain ledgers and cryptocurrencies.

                                          • Re: Experience with green digital finance? Examples, opinions, thoughts?
                                            wt48 C4D Extraordinaire

                                            Great discussion started by Karin, but lots of valuable input from everyone.  Keep it up.  I wanted to come at this discussion from the importance of NGOs, Governments or Private Sector players needing to involve citizens, by "...strengthening their ability for two-way communication with affected people to improve how [humanitarian] organizations listen to affected people’s needs, concerns and complaints". 


                                            A September 2017 ICRC/OCHA Guide  HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO BETTER ENGAGE PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CRISIS may provide helpful ways to widen the base for policy-makers concerned sharing success stories...