Large companies are reexamining their operations to work toward more sustainable solutions in all aspects of their business. One critical way financial firms can make these sustainable changes company-wide is by reassessing the technology and digital solutions they use.
Financial firms are deeply involved with the broader global efforts to fight climate change. For example, more than 450 financial companies are members of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, which aims to align private money with UN Sustainable Development Goals to achieve more than a dozen critical social and environmental targets.
Generating ROI from sustainability
Beyond helping society, focusing on sustainability can bring savings to a firm and increase its appeal to consumers and other businesses looking to partner with sustainable firms. Companies no longer need to choose between sustainability and focusing on profitability — firms can combine these goals. The majority of public companies will include sustainability as a part of the ROI analysis by 2026, according to consulting firm Gartner Inc. That change indicates a shift toward viewing sustainability as a driver of returns, not just a source of risk management.
One way a firm can increase its sustainability is by reexamining the tech it uses. According to Ernst & Young, leadership should integrate technology more closely with their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities, including considering whether their existing technology infrastructure is sustainable. Firms should also invite technology leaders to participate in strategic conversations around ESG.
Customers express their desire to purchase products and services from companies with sustainable practices, but they may not feel financial firms are providing that to them. For example, though consumers are looking to work with sustainable retail banks, in a McKinsey survey, consumers didn’t rate any bank highly on their green credentials. So, there is an opportunity for firms to increase their green efforts and then educate consumers so they are aware of the progress.
Making sustainable choices in sourcing technology can also help financial firms cut costs. For example, Samsung Certified Re-Newed devices give businesses a like-new phone experience running on the Android operating system with a guaranteed warranty at a lower price. And Samsung ENERGY STAR® certified products help reduce firm energy usage.
What financial institutions can do to be more sustainable
There are many ways financial institutions can leverage technology to increase their sustainability. Here are just a few:
- Replace cash with digital transactions. According to a study by Tufts University, digital transactions are generally better for the environment because they remove the environmental impact needed to manufacture and transport metal coins and paper money, including material inputs like cotton paper and ink. Digital transactions can also limit the need for ATMs, which must be powered by electricity 24 hours a day to dispense cash at a moment’s notice.
- Turn to virtual cards instead of plastic debit and credit cards. So-called virtual cards, which can be used to make purchases online and through mobile phones, eliminate the need for a physical card. According to industry estimates, about 5 billion payment cards are manufactured each year. Most payment cards are manufactured using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), derived from oil, and ultimately end up in a landfill.
What's next for the future of finance?
Samsung’s commitment to sustainability
Beyond their own actions, financial firms can also partner with technology firms acting against climate change, such as Samsung. As part of our commitment to improving the future for people and the planet, here are some of the ways Samsung is reducing its footprint and those of our clients:
- Investing in recycled paper and bio-based materials for products and packaging. Samsung products are made in part with a range of recycled plastics, bioplastics and sustainable materials. And we continue to reduce and replace plastic packaging in favor of recycled materials and sustainable paper.
- Certified Re-Newed devices that reduce e-waste. Samsung Certified Re-Newed devices give businesses a like-new phone experience with a guaranteed warranty, all while saving the business money and reducing waste. All Samsung devices are powered by the open and flexible Android OS.
- Using 100% renewable energy throughout U.S. facilities. All Samsung’s facilities in the United States, including its manufacturing and distribution sites, use renewable energy. We currently source 100% renewable energy from sources like Wind, Solar, Biomass, and Green-e® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
- Increasing energy efficiency in our products to help save power and lower bills. We’re improving energy efficiency in our products to help corporations reduce power consumption, lower bills, and increase sustainability. That includes ENERGY STAR® certified products such as power-saving monitors, Galaxy Chromebooks and Galaxy Tab S8. This saves power and helps firms lower their carbon footprint.
Financial services firms have committed to sustainability but can’t get there alone. Technology product innovations can help drive ROI for firms while making a meaningful impact on our planet’s future.