Singapore’s central bank and Google Cloud have announced a new programme to scale-up climate fintech in Asia. The Point Carbon Zero will focus on financial sector access to relevant data in the green finance sector.
Project Greenprint to scale green finance through ESG data solutions
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank and financial regulator will collaborate with Google Cloud under its Project Greenprint programme. This is an initiative to develop and scale technologies to support green finance through facilitating ESG related data flows and driving partnerships and collaboration between all stakeholders involved in green finance.
As part of the collaboration, Google Cloud will launch the world’s first open-source cloud platform dedicated to climate finance, which will facilitate the deployment of these climate fintech solutions and their adoption by the financial sector. Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Global Sustainability, Google Cloud, said, “We are in the decade of action on sustainability. The Point Carbon Zero Programme is a great example of the power of combining collaboration and technology to leverage shared ESG data that will drive better, data-driven decision-making.
Support for scaling fintech – at home and abroad
Fintech firms and solution providers will be invited to submit innovative technological solutions on the new open-source cloud platform to address a range of climate finance issues. 100 solutions will be shortlisted and tested with a pool of 1,000 financial institutions on their ability to facilitate capital flows towards green and sustainable projects in Asia.
“Our goal is to fuel an international movement – with data enabling and informing green financial flows, to help countries and companies make quantifiable and meaningful progress, and has their transition into a carbon-free future”, said Sherie Ng, Google Cloud’s country director for Singapore and Malaysia.
Bolstering Singapore’s emerging green finance sector
“Singapore’s financial and fintech sectors can play a pivotal role in the efficient channelling of private capital toward sustainable projects and businesses focusing on their long-term sustainability impact”, acknowledged Dr. Darian McBain, MAS’ chief sustainability officer.
The idea of ‘green fintech’ is still relatively new and lacks a clear universal definition. However, interest in green fintech solutions is on the rise as the financial sector looks to efficiently fill a growing demand for more sustainability-oriented products and services.
The government of Singapore aims to make the city-state into a green finance hub for Asia and beyond. In the Budget 2022, it was announced that the public sector would issue up to S$35 billion of green bonds by 2030.
Setting standards to avoid greenwash
To avoid the risk of greenwashing, MAS announced it will introduce new internationally-aligned disclosure requirements for ESG funds by January 2023. However, compliance with the new requirements will put a significant reporting burden on companies and investors. Comprehensive data on the sustainability risks and impacts of investments will be required to ensure the authenticity of ‘green’ investment claims.
MAS’ McBain claims that deploying technology solutions such as the Point Carbon Zero Programme will allow the central bank to “greatly enhance the quality, availability and comparability of the ESG data needed to facilitate these financial flows, to accelerate our transition to a low carbon economy”.