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In this episode of Market Like a Fintech, Araminta is chatting with Gihan Hyde, founder of Communique and environmental, social and governance (ESG) communicator. Gihan has experience leading ESG campaigns with organisations such as Barclays, HSBC, and Marks & Spencer. With experience in 8 sectors over 6 Countries, Gihan's ESG campaigns have impacted over 150,000 employees, 200,000 customers and resulted in £300M investment deals in the past 15 years.
Communique is a social enterprise startup that specialises in communicating strategies that focus on environmental, social and governance. They work with organisations to develop communication strategies and campaigns that align the business with investors, employees and their clients.
Araminta and Gihan chat about how fintech companies can communicate ESG more effectively, mistakes current fintechs are making, and how Communique helps these companies do a better job at communicating.
This episode is brought to you by VC Innovations.
VC Innovations is a full-stack marketing services agency dedicated to innovation industries with a special focus on Fintech. They work with businesses across 3 key areas of marketing infrastructure, demand generation campaigns and event properties including the must-attend Fintech Talents Festival. Check out www.vcinnovations.co.uk to find out more.
"[ESG] is a buzzword that shouldn't actually be a buzzword, to be honest. And what I wanted to do is I wanted to eliminate the fact that it's a buzzword, and I wanted to normalise it and make it part of how every company should operate."
"Environmental deals with how fintechs talk about their positive or negative impact on the environment that they're operating in. Some of the topics that are under environmental would include your energy consumption, your digital consumption, your waste consumption, and your carbon footprint."
"The S stands for social, which is also social impact. And that is how fintechs are treating the communities that they operate in. How are they treating their employees? How are they treating their investors and how are they treating their suppliers? So some of the subsets of this would include employee contracts, employee reward, supplier contracts, equality and diversity, diversity and inclusion, for example, and CRC."
"Governance is mainly about how fintechs protect themselves internally, and how are they governed? And how ethical are they? So think of compliance, risk policies, think of the diversity of the board, think of the pay gap between the female and male board members, for example."
"And [fintech] is one of the few sectors that will truly, truly make a difference to people's livelihood, and saving our environment, because of its technologies and easy access."
"...But from an easiness [of ESG] point of view, I think fintechs are easier to calculate and to report on their ESG purely because of their size, and because of their technology."
"And I think the impact [of ESG], it's more evident and will be more noticeable in fintech than it would be in traditional banks."
"The common thread between all of them (the researched fintechs) is the fact that they are very good at saying what they're doing when it comes to ESG."
"If you are to communicate ESG, right, you need to work in the mindset [of your customers], don't just focus on selling the product, focus on changing the mindset and the behaviours, because if you succeed in doing this, your product will automatically rocket ... And this is something fintechs are not really taking into account."
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"What fintechs are doing wrong is; they're focusing completely on their actual products and their actual campaigns at this moment in time, but they're not taking me with them through the journey and constantly reminding me, what role do I play as a consumer and client and an investor, in making their work and their impact more visible, and their ESG more impactful?"
"For ESG and fintech specifically to succeed in changing a mindset, there are certain steps that we need to take in order to achieve that. The first one is to communicate ESG holistically ... Number two, it needs to work to be a positive story ... The third is you open a channel where people can feedback their input and ideas."
[How can a fintech company avoid greenwashing?]
"Two ways that I advise my clients on; number one - have a communicator who knows nothing about ESG. Have someone who would be able to and who is confident enough to ask the questions that no one else there is. When you don't know anything about anything, your curiosity is going to work for you ... Second - test the message before you launch it. Test it with your customers, test it with your investors, and definitely test it with your employees. Because if your employees don't believe it, your customers and investors won't believe it."
"So through fintech, specifically with the technology that they're providing at the moment, through the easiness of conducting a business transaction, [this] will make people be able to have some time to reflect on what impact they have on their environment and their communities."
For more interesting insights, listen to Gihan's complete story below.