Winston Churchill famously said: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give". This approach seems to be behind the global transformation of businesses towards a more society-oriented model that tries to ensure that the local community and, more broadly, the world thrives. With that aim in view, some companies effectively reduce their carbon footprint. For instance, Mercedes-Benz Group’s Ambition 2039 strategy involves shifting to a fully electric vehicle fleet. Other companies aim to support local communities facing challenges often related to education, infrastructure, and environmental conditions.
What does this trend, or rather a new societal norm, have to do with fintech companies? In what ways can they help, and what actions do they already take to improve our world? This article aims to answer these questions for emerging and already established fintech companies, as well as for their clients.
Fintech companies and corporate social responsibility
Fintech companies can advance social causes in several unique ways: from bringing financial services to people who have not had access to them to promoting financial literacy. Here are some of the most pressing issues fintech companies are already addressing:
- Giving made easier. Some companies, such as Fidelity Charitable, present an opportunity to contribute cash, securities, and other assets to donor-advised funds at public charities. This makes it possible to increase tax savings for donators. Others, like Binance Charity, attempt to revolutionise global giving by employing Web3 technology, which makes donations more transparent, efficient, and, most importantly, direct.
- Serving the underserved. Financial exclusion in rural and underdeveloped areas has become a major issue many fintech companies decide to centre their CSR activities around. In some cases, the whole purpose for creating a fintech service is built around bridging this gap. For instance, the mobile financial service bKash was specifically designed to cater for the 70% of the Bangladesh population who live in rural areas and have limited access to formal banking.
- Advancing financial literacy. Unfortunately, few schools teach banking, investments, and savings, while those are some of the most important skills students might need in their adult life. Fintech companies become increasingly aware of the issue and start developing educational courses that serve their clients and a much wider audience.
Other charitable activities major fintech companies are involved in include environmental projects, such as HSBC’s efforts to help preserve Taipei’s Guandu Nature Park in Taiwan, emergency aid and various initiatives corresponding to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
What can just one fintech company do to advance social causes worldwide?
Let’s take one fintech company to illustrate the CSR approach in fintech and its impact. In 2022, the international Forex broker OctaFX directed its efforts at helping local communities overcome global challenges. Here’s what it managed to accomplish:
- The broker helped 1855 people and 46 small businesses in emergency situations, mostly during natural disasters.
- OctaFX supported educational efforts of 4452 students and 50 schools and organisations by funding scholarships, extracurricular educational workshops, professional courses, renovating and building new schools and classes, purchasing computers and other necessary educational equipment.
In total, OctaFX helped more than 6000 people across multiple countries, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Some of the most impressive projects included the following:
- In India, the broker helped construct six computer classrooms for the Lala Bulaki Das Babu Ram Sahai Hindu Mahila Inter College in Tilhar.
- In Malaysia, OctaFX provided twelve-month allowances to six students pursuing different degrees in Malaysian universities.
- In Indonesia, the broker provided humanitarian aid for families affected by an earthquake in Cianjur district, which left 58,362 people hurt and displaced.
- In Pakistan, OctaFX financed the Health, Education and Safety (HES) project, which aimed at improving the health, education, and safety of children in twelve rural areas of Muzzafargarh, Punjab.
- In Nigeria, OctaFX provided fifty unemployed youths with ICT training as part of the charitable project Youth Employability Skills (YES).
- In Mexico, the broker is currently sponsoring Empowerment Program, which is going to benefit 110 elementary school students in Fundación Dr. José María Álvarez I.A.P.
The current CSR trend in the fintech industry is set to expand, while both stakeholders and employees expect their values to align with those of their companies. As more companies start to actively participate in socially beneficial projects, we become yet closer to a more sustainable, educated, and healthy future for the world.