Supporting finance businesses with environmental, social and governance goals


Darryn Welsh, Head of Sales for Finance, Insurance and Professional Services at Vodafone Business, explores the power of connectivity and technology in helping finance organisations to meet their ESG goals.

  • Finance business have an increasing responsibility to report their sustainability efforts and drive digital inclusion.

  • Connectivity is the key to sustainable change, and digital platforms can help organisations to integrate environmental, social and governance data into their financial decision-making processes.

  • Our strong network infrastructure can help support environmental and social initiatives, bridge the digital divide, and create opportunities for positive societal and environmental impact. 

Tackling the digital divide

Finance businesses are under increasing pressure to report their sustainability efforts, stemming from evolving EU legislation. As they scramble to prepare for the forthcoming disclosure rules, many are considering introducing a Sustainability Data Officer to manage the targets and reporting required.¹

The other major challenge for finance today is driving inclusion. According to Forbes: “There is an urgent need to narrow the digital divide and thereby boost financial inclusion so that as many people as possible can access anything from basic payments to savings and investments.” Forbes even put digital inclusion “on par with universal suffrage”, describing it as a “fundamental right”.²

With these challenges in mind, let’s explore the transformative potential of digital communications technology and the strategic role that Vodafone can play in facilitating positive change within your organisation.

Digital communications as the driving force to bridge the digital divide 

Technology can break down geographical and institutional barriers, fostering a globalised financial ecosystem. It enables the accessibility of financial services for individuals and businesses to surpass traditional limitations, promotes financial inclusion, and provides a platform for underserved communities to participate in ethical financial practices.

A great example of this is our partnership with Lloyds to deliver the We Are Digital helpline, providing free connectivity to some of Lloyds’ vulnerable customers. Specially trained advisers help callers, especially those nervous and uncertain about the online world, to gain valuable skills, such as setting up a phone or tablet, connecting to the internet, and using online banking and money-saving tools.

Leveraging connectivity for ESG outcomes

Connectivity is the catalyst for sustainable change. Digital platforms enable the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data into financial decision-making processes – including the potential for data-driven insights to align financial goals with sustainability objectives.

Digital platforms can also provide transparent and real-time reporting on ESG performance, enhancing stakeholder trust through the clear communication of sustainability initiatives.
These benefits are essential because today’s financial services CFOs are more focused on ESG reporting priorities than CFOs in other industries.³ The majority of financial sector CFOs (78%) name ‘implementing appropriate technology, processes and controls’ as a key priority when it comes to ESG reporting.⁴

Sustainability strategies

We’ve outlined the power of connectivity, but how is it applied? At Vodafone, we’re leveraging the strength of our network infrastructure to promote environmental and social initiatives, bridge the digital divide, and create opportunities for positive societal and environmental impact.

Our own dedication to sustainability and responsible practices can serve as a model for other companies, showcasing the importance of integrating ethical considerations into corporate strategies. Our strategy includes connecting people and organisations to our digital society. inclusion for all, operating responsibly, and reducing our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions to net zero by 2027 in the UK, as well as achieving net zero emissions across our full value chain (Scope 3) by 2040.⁵

Whether it’s partnering with WWF to support the circular economy by collecting one million phones, working with Extreme E to create a positive environmental impact through technologies such as 5G, MPN and IoT⁶, or collaborating with organisations to help bridge the digital divide via our everyone.connected campaign – we’re doing everything we can to drive change.

Shaping the future

As a prominent player in the digital realm, Vodafone has the capability to influence and shape ethical practices within the financial sector. A large part of this is down to our constant innovation and desire to remain at the forefront of technological advancement.

Here are two examples of how innovation can help shape the future of finance:

  • Sustainable investments bridging the digital divide
    There’s been a noticeable surge in investor demand for sustainable investment opportunities across the world.⁷ We invested in M-PESA, in collaboration with Safaricom, to help bridge the digital divide in Africa. Our mobile money service and fintech platform provides 51 million customers with a safe, secure and affordable way to send and receive money, top-up airtime, make bill payments and more.⁸

  • Sustainable banking
    Digital-only banks, often referred to as neobanks, leverage technology to streamline operations, reduce costs, and offer innovative services that align with sustainable principles. There are 49 registered neobanks in the UK alone⁹, and mobile banking applications and digital financial services are at the forefront of this movement.

Enabling positive change, together

The journey towards a greener, more sustainable future is underway and technology is steering the course. The question now is not whether finance can be sustainable, but how fast and effectively technology can enable these changes.

As the UK continues to embrace this digital revolution, the finance sector needs to be reshaped to prioritise ethical investments, sustainable banking practices, and promote inclusion.

We’re empowering financial institutions and banks to assess their environmental impact, reduce energy consumption and emissions, and create more sustainable long-term business models. Our innovative solutions are built on our award-winning global network, and we offer expert advice at every step to help businesses embrace sustainable growth and thrive. Why not talk to us to find out more?

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