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Global Financial firms launch groundbreaking innovation challenge to deliver positive environmental impact

FinTech Scotland, working with eleven industry partners, launches a new innovation challenge, focused on delivering positive environmental and societal outcomes. Working in collaboration with EY, Morgan Stanley, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Barclays, Phoenix Group, Sopra Steria, Equifax, Virgin Money and abrdn, this innovation challenge invites innovative companies from across the world to apply,
with successful firms potentially eligible for funding of up to £50,000.

The challenge focusses on the best use of data and identifying new data sources that will help address critical Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) questions. It invites innovative enterprises to develop data led solutions and technology enabled approaches to new ESG regulatory requirements, helping drive responsible outcomes for people and the environment.

The challenge will run for 3 months, and successful applications will work alongside some of the leading global financial services firms, learning about challenges, their ways of working and how to best integrate solutions within these businesses. Successful applicants will also be able to access support and inputs from industry partners to help develop solutions further.

The programme is enabled by FinTech Scotland’s Financial Regulation Innovation Lab, which works to support innovation and ground-breaking solutions that will address the increasing demand of new financial regulations, using a collaborative approach that works across industry, academia, regulators, experts and innovators. The Financial Regulation Innovation Lab will utilise the expertise from leading
academic experts in climate, data and technology from across the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow, supporting the development of this programme.

Companies interested in applying can do so here until the 7th of July at midnight.

Nicola Anderson, CEO at FinTech Scotland said: “I’m excited to see this work develop to drive innovation on this important agenda. This programme highlights two key attributes that when combined can accelerate responsible innovation. Using collaborative action that is focused on priority industry needs will accelerate positive innovation. I’m looking forward to seeing the progress and outcomes from this work have a positive impact for the environment and for society”.

Tom McFarlane, Partner at EY said: “Embedding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria across the financial sector is not just a regulatory requirement, but a fundamental driver of long-term value. The FRIL’s ESG Innovation Call will bring firms of all sizes together to create innovative solutions that raise the standards of ethical and sustainable governance, and EY is proud to play a part in supporting this”. Angela Benson, Head of Glasgow Finance at Morgan Stanley said: “Morgan Stanley is delighted to join this ESG Innovation Call, reflecting our steadfast commitment to integrating environmental, social, and governance principles into our core business strategies. This initiative is an excellent platform for fostering collaboration and driving forward the innovative solutions needed to address the pressing sustainability challenges we face today”.

Jennifer Simpson, Head of Climate & ESG Risk at Lloyds Banking Group said: “LBG is excited to join the Financial Regulation Innovation Lab’s ESG Innovations Call as we recognise the critical importance of addressing climate and ESG risks ensuring a sustainable future for our customers. This initiative also aligns with our purpose of helping Britain prosper and provides an excellent opportunity for us to
work with industry partners, Fintech’s and researchers to develop innovative solutions that enhances ESG integration and supports regulatory delivery”.

Kal Bukovski, Director of Academia and Research at Sopra Steria said: “Our involvement underscores our dedication to advancing ESG principles through cutting-edge research and collaboration. This effort reflects Sopra Steria’s broader mission to leverage technology and expertise for positive environmental and social impact”. Richard Nicol, Senior Product Owner at Phoenix Group said: “This call aligns seamlessly with our commitment to integrating sustainable governance into our investment strategies. We recognise the critical role that fintech innovations can play in addressing global environmental and social challenges that not only generate strong financial returns but also contribute positively to our broader community and

Brendan Mohr, Head of Sustainability Compliance at Barclays said: “We are delighted to participate in this initiative as it is a unique opportunity to collaborate across the industry. Financial institutions need to evolve at pace to meet both our customer’s expectations and our own strategic goals, so it is essential that we find new ways to achieve this. This is a great opportunity to find innovative solutions to accelerate change while maintaining the controls that keep our customers safe”. The Financial Regulation Innovation Lab is part of the larger Glasgow City Region Innovation Accelerator programme with Glasgow, one of three pilot regions’ sharing a £100m investment aimed at transforming R&D within the UK. Led by Innovate UK, this programme supports the UK Government’s levelling-up agenda by empowering local regions to drive economic growth through innovation. This approach not only
supports regional development but also positions the UK as a leader in the global
innovation landscape.

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