Most sustainability offerings and especially analytics services focus almost exclusively on reducing carbon emissions which is not sufficient to mitigate planetary risks. Through the project, SEB and Planethon explored how to expand beyond existing sustainability metrics by analysing bank payment data and customer companies' business data with scientifically assured ‘social-ecological' data sets (datasets where social and environmental factors are considered together).
The results show that there is a potential to get a near real-time dynamic map of the payment flow connected to environmental hotspots, a more sophisticated understanding of risk and how one's action can have multiple impacts on both people and planet. For example, a payment that flows through an area that is a site of rapid deforestation, biodiversity loss and human rights violations.
The pilot case collaboration of SEB and Planethon was complemented by the customer, Ekman Group, who shared the required business transaction information and gave valuable input that informed the results of the experiment.
“SEB is continuously exploring opportunities to improve and expand levels of sustainability in all its activities, processes and businesses. SEB's green financing solutions, an industry forerunner, has been a good foundation on which to build a framework to experiment solutions for analysing the sustainability of our customers' commercial transactions supported by our own data and resources. This will help SEB's customers to better understand the sustainability impact of their international business transactions by combining diverse information sources, including both the financial transaction and the payment data. These can be consolidated into actionable insights,” says Harri Rantanen, Business Developer within Transaction Services at SEB.
“The need for corporate action towards a safe and just planet for all is urgently needed. SEB takes leadership in exploring next-generation sustainability services to their corporate customers. Through this joint experiment, we were able to leverage Planethon's capabilities in creating science- and data driven analytics solutions to be part of shaping the future of sustainable payments,“ continues Carina Johed, CTO at Planethon.
The participating co-creators point out that analysis on a larger scale would be made possible through automated access to and processing of data from banks, customers, and external sustainability sources. This method could then be used for other types of transactions with different stakeholders.
The project was commenced and executed in 2021 based on Planethon's planet-centric design thinking principles and business development methods. While the experiment only covered a limited number of payments and business transactions, it was nevertheless able to determine that more automated processing with harmonised common data sets would be possible for future steps. It also proved that the service could be run by various combinations of business partners and be expanded to a larger stakeholder group.