Story by Gary Stevens
Multiple crises are on the horizon, and climate change is arguably the worst of them all.
The fintech industry has long been the target of sustainable development changes or green initiatives. Wide-ranging tech developments for all industries have historically come out of fintech, with the potential for more in the future.
But getting those initiatives to be adopted by most major world powers has been difficult, as has developing truly effective solutions.
To help solve the innovative deadlock currently gripping the fintech sustainability sector, a special program championed by the UN and other organizations will seek to bring six Nordic fintech companies to Singapore to bootstrap collaboration and greater innovation.
What Singapore is for the fintech industry
Singapore is widely recognized as the fintech capital of the world. There are several reasons for this, but mainly because Singapore is home to many ASEAN fintech companies and innovative industries, and it’s arguably the largest shipping center in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Perhaps more importantly, Singapore is also the site of the annual Fintech Festival, which gathers many of the brightest fintech startups, leaders, institutions, and academic organizations in one place for collaboration and fast development.
It’s no stretch to say that a fintech company with a presence in Singapore will find ample opportunities to develop more rapidly and will play a larger role in solving many of the crises that are only becoming more and more important as time goes on. Putting down roots in Singapore is a top priority for fintech companies across the globe, especially since COVID-19 has played a large role in boosting fintech adoption across all industries.
Right now, Nordic fintech companies are important in their own region, but lack the same global pull as their Singapore-based counterparts. But all that may be about to change.
Innovation brings faster development
Copenhagen Fintech, one of the premier Danish financial technology institutions, recently announced a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The goal of this collaboration is to bring several worthy Nordic fintech companies to Singapore to establish commercial and interpersonal bridges between the two regions.
More specifically, the bridge program will hopefully accelerate the development of SDGs or sustainable development goals. SDGs are specific goals outlined by the United Nations that provide measurable benchmarks of progress toward long-lasting solutions for the problems described above.
But why does this matter?
In a nutshell, innovation can be pursued through collaboration. Nordic and Singapore fintech companies both have unique approaches to different global problems plaguing developed and developing nations. Issues like climate change, financial fraud, and the rising wage gap between the world’s richest and poorest people are three such examples.
To solve complex and wide-ranging problems such as these, creative and innovative solutions are needed. By collaborating, Nordic and Singapore fintech companies may be able to find those solutions more easily and pool resources, both physical and intellectual, for greater results.
For instance, one of the most well-known SDGs is the effort to keep carbon emission low enough that the global temperature increase doesn’t exceed 2°C. By bridging Nordic and Singapore-based fintech companies together, both regions will, hopefully, be able to pool resources and come up with better means of transferring money from place to place to allow for more rapid green commercial developments.
This is all just a hypothetical example. But it’s clear that artificial intelligence, machine learning, and plenty of other fintech developments may be key to solving many of the problems of financial institutions and everyday people alike as well. The integration of AI and ML in financial institutions to help investors make wiser decisions and reduce banking fraud is one of the biggest trends happening in the fintech world, and Nordic companies want to be on the forefront of new trends just like all smart organizations.
The overall point of the bridge program is to provide accelerated SDG completion as in the above. The challenges facing the world are incredibly complex and new challenges will likely follow faster than we’re comfortable with. But through collaboration and innovation, SDGs can be met more quickly and with greater cooperation between major world players.
The bridge program: major partners and selected nordic companies
The bridge program will follow strict guidelines to ensure that only the most deserving Nordic fintech companies get the chance to put down roots in Singapore’s rich fintech markets. Six Nordic companies will be chosen in total, and each company will be picked based on challenges formulated for this unique occasion by the UNDP, Copenhagen Fintech, and the other partners of the program.
The other partners include:
- UNDP Global Center for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development in Singapore
- UNDP’s Nordic Office
- UNDP SDG Innovative Finance (UNSIF)
The last two partners are financial institutions that are interested in accelerating the development of sustainable innovation for both the fintech industry and many others. Both Citi and DBS have vested interests in developing new sustainable fintech technologies and solutions for rapidly growing global problems since their own profits and long-term stability are on the line.
How this will benefit nordic fintech companies
Danish and Nordic fintech companies have already been in the fight for greener and more sustainable technology for some time. They’re also among the world’s best leaders for sustainable development. For instance, Denmark is committed to a 2030 goal for sustainable development across the board.
Yet even they recognize that they won’t accomplish their SDGs alone. Collaboration and cooperation with other companies, and the resources those partnerships might represent, are crucial for everyone to succeed.
The goals of the bridge program
Hopefully, the bridge program between Nordic and Singapore-based fintech companies will accelerate the development of both commercially scalable and sustainable ventures in the ASEAN region and the entire Eastern Hemisphere. This is especially important for fighting against climate change since the ASEAN region is home to some of the world’s worst polluters and CO2 producers.
By forging stronger ties between the two regions, both groups will foster a vested interest in helping the other. The wide-ranging effects of climate change and growing poverty will not be limited to a single locale. Instead, they will rapidly spread across the globe unless they are solved thanks to resourceful and sustainable developments in fintech and other industries.
To this end, the bridge program’s task force has outlined a special action agenda that outlines certain opportunities and various steps needed to evolve established fintech ecosystems into more sustainable versions. Basically, it’s a checklist of the main things that this new partnership between the Nordic and Singapore fintech companies should focus on right off the bat.
The list is long and unlikely to be finished anytime soon. But with technological developments fostered by cooperation between Nordic and Singapore fintech organizations, issues like global warming, energy efficiency, and economic inequality all stand a better chance of being solved once and for all.
In the end, the bridge program that will bring six carefully selected Nordic fintech companies to Singapore may very well herald the start of a new era of cooperation and collaborative innovation. With the appropriate drive and a little luck, the global scientific and fintech communities may yet develop sustainable solutions for many of the problems plaguing our greater society.