Over two thirds of global consumers want their banks to become more sustainable in future
Over two thirds (67%) of consumers want their bank or financial institution to become more sustainable in future, according to a new report from cloud banking platform Mambu. Following this trend, a significant majority (65%) of Thais say that the availability of green financial services has become more important to them in the last five years.
The Is the grass greener on the sustainable side? report surveyed over 6,000 consumers on their attitudes to green finance globally, including Thailand. It reveals that, while the majority are in favour of greener financial options, consumers have little trust in the industry’s sustainability credentials.
Doubts about greenwashing remain very high in Thailand, with three quarters (75%) of consumers believing that their current financial institution is guilty of greenwashing, similar to consumers in other APAC countries and global regions.
Although Thailand boasts the highest percentage of consumers who have heard of either ethical or green finance among the countries surveyed, standing at 64%, there’s still confusion about these terms. 42% of Thais don’t fully understand the difference between “green finance” (a product that has been designed to protect the environment or to manage the impacts of finance and investments on the environment) and “ethical finance” (finance which takes into account not only financial returns but also environmental, social and governance factors) indicating a need for greater education and communication within the industry.
Consumers in Thailand, as well as Vietnam, are the most likely to have knowingly banked with a sustainable financial institution or made use of a sustainable banking product or service (43%) compared to just 26% of their global counterparts. Among those who have used them, the vast majority of Thais (88%) prefer these services over traditional banking products.
The global survey shows that consumers want banks to be more transparent and have greater power in holding them to account. Nearly three fifths (58%) would like more control over how and where their money is invested - to align with their personal values. Meanwhile, over half (55%) would like a say on the types of green financial products and services their financial institution develops in future.
Anna Krotova, Director of Sustainability at Mambu, said: “Our research shows that consumers are increasingly looking for ways to make greener financial decisions, but remain sceptical about how strongly banks are committed to the sustainability agenda. They want to play a more active role in making green finance the future of finance, and there’s a huge opportunity for forward-thinking players to get ahead in this transition. Mambu empowers financial institutions to do just that and build sustainable financial products quickly and cost-effectively to meet consumer demands.”
Pham Quang Minh, General Manager, at Mambu Thailand, said:
“Thailand is one of the countries most affected by climate change globally and the pandemic has shifted even more attention to the need for a sustainable economic recovery. We've seen how the green finance market maintains rapid growth in the region and Thailand is no exception. Many institutions have successfully issued green bonds, particularly to finance green infrastructure, but there's more the financial sector should explore. With Mambu, they can easily embark on this green journey and find a flexible solution tailored to their needs"
Specifically, 45% of Thai consumers would welcome incentives and loyalty programmes that reward them for making greener financial decisions. Almost the same percentage (46%) would like to hear more about sustainability commitments during the onboarding process for financial products and services.
The most in-demand green financial products in Thailand are green savings accounts and bonds (52%), followed by sustainable cryptocurrency services (42%) and sustainable credit and debit cards (40%). Interestingly, Thailand and Vietnam are the only two countries surveyed where sustainable cryptocurrency products and services are among the top three priorities for consumers.
The global findings also demonstrate the green finance opportunity for banks, as nearly half (49%) of consumers say they would consider switching to a provider with a stronger commitment to sustainability, yet less than a third (32%) are willing to pay a premium in order to do so.
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