Digital Finance and Citizen Action

Inquiry Report

Authors: Cornis van der Lugt   

Published By: UNEP Inquiry    Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance   

Date: Feb 2019

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Digital Finance and Citizen Action

This report looks at how digital finance technologies, or fintech, can engage citizens as consumers, pension holding investors, co-producers and voters. The impact of fintech in engaging citizens in climate-smart infrastructure development can be observed at four levels: business model innovation, new sources of finance, consumer choice and behaviour and improved systems and data.

The study presents many case examples of innovations that are already changing consumer-citizen behaviour at each level, increasing finance for climate-smart infrastructure and reducing emissions, while also issuing key finding and recommendations to increase the scale and impact of fintech. These are summarized as follows:

  • Market reform, decentralization and improved competition need to be advanced.
  • City authorities could sharpen their role in creating supportive ecosystems.
  • Overcoming behavioural bias can be achieved through innovations in online learning, peer platforms and gamification.
  • Regulatory and professional bodies need to address this through the development of improved standards and relevant labels that signpost recognized climate standards.

Digital Finance and Citizen Action is part of the broader Financing Climate Futures initiative focusing on the identification of critical uncertainties posing constraints to aligning financial flows with climate objectives and in particular infrastructure investment.

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