06 Dec 2021

Kainos: It pays to be green

Why payment providers are uniquely positioned to take leadership in sustainability

With consumers switching almost entirely to digital payments over the last 18-months, payment providers have started to play a critical role at the very centre of economic activity.

This presents an excellent opportunity for payment providers to position themselves as drivers for positive environmental change and offer value-added services to enable everyone on their path to sustainability.

A recently published global survey by Deloitte found that over 80% of executives are concerned about climate change, with 30% stating that their organisations have felt the operational impact of climate-related disasters. Businesses are realising that climate change is no longer a distant threat and are looking to limit the impact their activities have on the environment. In addition, many organisations are under pressure to provide more environmentally friendly products and services as their customers start to shift to more sustainable lifestyles.

Changes in consumer behaviour through the global Covid pandemic and the increased awareness of the threats of climate change through observed impacts like heat waves, droughts and wildfires, are a powerful combination. Indeed many studies have already established the link between the two. The BBC quotes one global survey that points to the fact that consumers have dramatically evolved and that 60% were reportedly making more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic.

In terms of offerings to consumers, there are several possible angles that payment providers could explore:

  1. Give your customers the tools to guide and educate them on what behaviours need to change to reduce their carbon footprint.

For example, an easy-to-use emissions calculator based on each transaction combined with a clear monthly summary of the most significant emissions per category (travel, purchased goods and services, food, etc) can be a powerful and data-driven tool for reflection on what to change day-to-day.

  1. Giving away plastic payment cards is passé when viable alternatives exist. Consider in the least using biodegradable plastic, using payments based on scanning QR codes or exchanging a digital code like the polish payment provider Blik currently offers.

For organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint, two good starting points are:

  1. Before reducing anything, the important first step is to understand the scale of the problem by measuring your existing emissions with a high degree of confidence. Emissions within business operations are generated by office premises, electricity suppliers, business travel and many other factors. It is hard to calculate them correctly without a proper methodology. Also, without the data platform, it is a mundane task cutting through all the data an organisation holds especially knowing you’ll need to repeat this activity every year. As everything goes digital, the impact of your digital estate (datacentres and cloud-related emissions) should not be forgotten. First, understand your overall footprint and then plan to reduce it. Can you precisely tell what carbon footprint you have generated servicing each of your customers? If you are not getting questions around it already from your customers, you will, very soon.
  2. If you are already doing fantastic things around sustainability, make sure you tell the world. Many consumers are actively looking for more environmentally friendly products and services – so make sure they know about your efforts. There are several disclosure mechanisms in which to do this, Carbon Disclosure Project and TCFD are the most common ones. 

If you would like to find out more about sustainability in payments you can read our full whitepaper ‘It pays to be green’ here.

So where to next?

At Kainos when we say "we do the difficult stuff" we mean it. When we started on our journey to become Net Zero we evaluated several methodologies and selected one that was most suited to a digital services focussed organisation. That is also true for the data platforms which underpin our measurements to consolidate and report on emissions. Refining this methodology, we are leveraging existing products, integrating them with off the shelf components and building bespoke solutions as required to enable our 2025 ambitions.

Lastly, with advanced application and cloud engineering expertise, we have universally modelled the emissions for digital infrastructure, both in the cloud and on-premise, to understand the footprint and achievable reductions. Contact us to apply the model to your on-premise and cloud estate. 

Get in touch if you want to know more about how we making the move to Net Zero, and find out if we can help you on your journey too.

This article was written by Stephan Sakowicz, Digital Services Director at Kainos. Stephan has extensive experience helping clients build digital solutions in finance, payment processing and many other industries. As Digital Services Director, Stephan is excited to work with visionary and entrepreneurial leaders to jointly build solutions that leverage the digital edge in their businesses. Sustainability is an area that Stephan is particularly passionate about. He is leading the sustainability initiative internally at Kainos and works with customers to help accelerate their sustainability journeys. To learn more about this author, please visit his LinkedIN page.

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