The European Commission has published its long-term strategy for a climate-neutral economy (see http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6543_en.htm).
Recognising the massive investment challenge that presents, the EC is looking to encourage sustainable finance.
In its March Action Plan on Sustainable Finance the Commission proposed a number of legislative proposals to incentivise more money flow into decarbonising the European economy. The innovative use of financial technology is clearly an area where steps can be taken to accelerate progress. But there is a concern that the EU regulatory and supervisory frameworks are just not ready to accommodate this technological innovation - which was one of the reasons why the EC adopted its EU Fintech Action Plan in March. (https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/180308-action-plan-fintech_en)
The Commission recognises the pressing need both to enable new technologies in the financial sector, and to ensure that FinTechs and FinTechs solutions can quickly scale to reach a broad customer base, across the EU. While this is clearly only the start of the journey, it is encouraging to see the Commission actively looking to drive innovation in this way.
The challenge will of course be whether or not the EU institutions and local regulators can themselves adapt quickly enough to identify and work with the Fintechs and the wider technology sector to understand and respond appropriately to these new technologies. It is critical they develop sufficient expertise in, and understanding of the impact of, the new technologies before adapting the regulatory frameworks and supervisory practices that govern their deployment and use. The FCA's sandbox is arguably leading the way in this regard.
While we may have concerns as to just how fast the regulators can learn and adapt, today's announcement still represents positive news for the FinTech community.
"we are faced with a massive investment challenge. I have said before that in Europe alone, we need about €180bn in additional yearly investment to meet our Paris goals. And after that, we would need somewhere between 175 and 290 billion euro in additional yearly investments to reach a net-zero greenhouse gas economy by 2050. This is why sustainable finance is one of the missing links in the fight against climate change" Capital Markets Union: VP's Dombrovskis keynote "Capital Markets Union – Time for Renewed Efforts to Deliver"