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Green finance ‘TechSprint’ winners named

‘G20 TechSprint 2021’ challenge: the winners were announced during an event in Milan that was broadcast live via the internet

Teams from Belgium, Italy and the UK have won a global hackathon-style competition to highlight the potential of new technologies to tackle challenges in green and sustainable finance.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and Banca d’Italia (Bank of Italy) announced the trio of victors in the ‘G20 TechSprint 2021’ challenge, organised as part of Italy’s G20 Presidency, during an event in Milan on 25 October.

The rapidly growing green finance movement focuses on allocating capital to economic projects that protect the environment, part of the broader trend towards environmental, social and governance (‘ESG’) investing. The climax of the competition, which launched in May, comes ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow next week and as pressure ratchets up on governments and other public sector authorities to step up their action to tackle climate change.

The winning firms were Belgium’s Greenomy, CRIF and R.E.D. (Italy) and the UK’s Home Infrastructure Technology. 

Green finance was among six priorities in the Bank for International Settlements’ (BIS) Innovation Hub work programme for 2021-2022. Benoît Cœuré, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, described the competition as having been “instrumental in scanning the technological universe and in helping us refine the BIS Innovation Hub’s contribution to the green finance agenda”.

Three winners from 21 finalists

A panel of 21 experts selected the most innovative solutions in each of three categories.

Greenomy won the ‘Data collection, verification and sharing’ category for its solution, which offers a ‘one-stop’ sustainability reporting SaaS (software as a service) platform for companies and financial institutions to screen and report green financing projects.

CRIF and R.E.D. won the ‘Analysis and assessment of transition and physical climate-related risks’ category for their ‘Climate Risk Analytics Suite’ solution, which provides a digital platform for supporting institutions in monitoring and reporting climate risks consistent with international recommendations.

Home Infrastructure Technology won the ‘Better connecting projects and investors’ category for its ‘Add To My Mortgage’ solution, a currently UK-focused ‘point-of-sale’ finance platform for homeowners to invest in green home improvements using their existing mortgage.

The competition received 248 draft and 99 full proposals from 25 countries, with 21 teams reaching the final stage.

All three winners each receive €50,000 cash (about £42,000), while shortlisted teams each received €10,000.

The three winners will also be ‘fast-tracked’ into the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ‘Global Fintech Hackcelerator’ finals and will showcase their solutions during the forthcoming Singapore FinTech Festival (8-12 November). They will receive an additional S$20,000 (about £10,800) stipend. ‘Harnessing Technology to Power Green Finance’ is the theme of MAS’s Global FinTech Hackcelerator, which is taking place for the sixth time. All finalists are due to be announced shortly.

‘Practical global forum for policymakers and technologists’

The one previous TechSprint, run by the BIS Innovation Hub alongside the Saudi G20 Presidency, focused on a different Innovation Hub priority: regulatory compliance (‘RegTech’) and supervision (‘SupTech’). The three winners were announced last October.

“The G20 TechSprint series has already proven to be a practical global forum for policymakers and technologists to collaborate on key areas of relevance to the regulatory and central banking community,” said Cœuré.

BIS last week announced the development of an Asian Green Bond Fund, in collaboration with the development financing community, to channel global central bank reserves to green projects in the Asia-Pacific region. The fund will work closely with the Philippines-headquartered Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other development financial institutions, as well as other issuers.

The BIS Innovation Hub and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HMKA) announced in August that they are partnering six companies on a blockchain-based green finance initiative known as ‘Project Genesis’.

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Ian is editor of Global Government Fintech and also writes for media including City AM and #DisruptionBanking. He is former UK director for the pan-European media network Euractiv (2011-2018), editor of Public Affairs News (2007-2011) and news editor of PR Week (2000-2007). He was shortlisted for ‘Editor of the Year’ at the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) Awards in 2010. He began his career in Bulgaria at English-language weekly the Sofia Echo.