The Global Benchmark for Sustainable Banking Report surveyed banking executives across the US, UK, Germany and The Netherlands on their mission to lead a more sustainable future
Mobiquity, a digital consultancy that designs and delivers innovative digital products and services for the world’s leading brands, released results of the firm’s new Global Benchmark for Sustainable Banking Report. The report explores how banking executives view sustainability in their practices and the barriers they need to overcome to achieve more sustainable behaviors. Mobiquity surveyed 400 banking executives at challenger and traditional banks across the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands to understand the importance of scaling sustainability initiatives and the impact digital tools have on delivering greener outcomes.
According to Mobiquity’s findings, many bank executives and board members are aware of the need to implement sustainable initiatives. In fact, 98% of banking executives in the US view sustainability as an important part of their business strategy. This is higher than executives in the UK (78%) and the Netherlands (91%), even though both countries are often more outspoken about their commitment to sustainability than the US. While the importance of sustainability is widely recognized, less than half of banking executives in the US (43%), UK (45%), Germany (40%) and the Netherlands (36%) are planning or implementing sustainable measures as part of their business strategy. This indicates that there may be a need for guidance from third parties when it comes to implementing sustainable initiatives.
Although there is a high level of awareness, the challenges of putting sustainable initiatives into practice has become a barrier. In the US, 37% of those surveyed believe that the biggest challenge to adopting sustainable initiatives is shifting cultural legacies that are hindering progress. To address these challenges and work toward a sustainable future, banks will need to leverage digital technologies to support the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of their organizations and, ultimately, becoming net-zero.
Even though consumers have increasingly adopted digital banking and its self-serve and branch-less culture, traditional banks are behind when it comes to implementing technology to kick-start these sustainable behaviors. In fact, 54% of traditional banks are encouraging remote working among employees to reduce customer and staff travel as their main sustainability initiative while 55% of challenger banks are using digital solutions to create sustainable outcomes. With consumers increasingly looking for sustainable alternatives, these traditional banks will need to do more to remain competitive as challengers continue to provide greener alternatives and tools, such as tracking the carbon footprint of purchases.
“The need to scale sustainability initiatives has been accelerated over the course of the pandemic across all industries due to changing customer expectations and increasing social pressure for eco-consciousness,” said Ruby Walia, Senior Advisor for Digital Banking at Mobiquity. “Even though bank executives recognize their role in creating more sustainable organizations, we found friction between ‘saying and doing’ across all banks surveyed. By increasingly implementing digital tools, these banks will be able to better achieve sustainable outcomes and better serve their customers.”
Additional key findings include:
- US banking executives have high digital sustainability awareness – 93% of US banking executives say they are are aware of how digital transformation can be used to drive sustainable outcomes, compared to the Netherlands (80%), UK (72%) and Germany (42%)
- Challenger bank executives are more concerned with sustainability – In the US and UK, sustainability was the top concern at board level for challenger banks, while it was the lowest concern for traditional banks
- In the US, challenger banks are taking action – 60% of executives at challenger banks in the US indicate they are taking steps to foster sustainable behaviors and outcomes compared to 48% of traditional banks
- Barriers to sustainability differ for US banking executives – 42% of challenger banking executives believe the main barrier to adopting sustainable behaviors is that cultural legacies need to be shifted. While 33% of traditional banking executives believe that little knowledge of the market and how to drive sustainability as well as the lack of universally recognized regulation and enforcement are the main challenges