David Mouko Elizaphan Omaanya has extensive experience of the fintech industry having served as director of Flutterwave Inc. Elizaphan Mouko also worked for Equity Bank Group, Guaranty Trust Bank, Imperial Bank, K-Rep Bank, and United Bank for Africa, accumulating in-depth knowledge of the banking sector. This article will look at Project ESG, a new initiative staged by the Payments Association to drive sustainable change in the payments industry.

Supported by more than 20 payments firms, the new project brings together representatives from the Payments Association and its members at industry critical moments. Uniting owners, board directors, and those working in customer-facing roles at banks, fintechs, consultancies, payment firms, and merchants, Project ESG was launched to bring together the whole industry, going beyond financial imperatives to address important social issues.

As part of Project ESG, the Payments Association has pledged to deliver a program of activities designed to achieve equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EEDI) throughout the entire payments ecosystem. The project will first focus on aspects of society and governance which are close to home that it can affect directly, such as recruitment and how the Payment Association and its members manage, motivate, and reward people in their employ.

The next step will focus on the environmental impact of the payments industry, examining how the sector can go further to adopt sustainable practices.

At the project’s launch, its ambassadors said they were delighted to champion strategies for the industry to help it operate in a sustainable way. The ambassadors will have a packed schedule, tasked with raising awareness and supporting companies as they learn and implement new procedures and policies to ensure they have a positive impact in terms of the environment, society, and governance (ESG).

Officials from the Payments Association said they were seeking to drive industrywide change, pointing out that one way of achieving this is by harnessing the collective enterprise of members. The Payments Association is now happy to add a seventh string to its bow in launching Project ESG in a world that is becoming increasingly aware of the vital importance of embedding sustainability and community-driven practices in all business activities.

Previously known as the Emerging Payments Association or EPA, the Payments Association is a community for companies operating in the payments industry, irrespective of their size, location, regulatory status or capability. The purpose of the Payments Association is to empower the payment industry, encouraging participants to collaborate, forge connections, and shape an industry that works for everyone. The Payments Association works with industry stakeholders such as HM Treasury, the Bank of England, the FCA, UK Finance, Innovate Finance, the PSR, and Pay.UK.

With guidance from an independent Advisory Board chaired by prominent payments CEOs, the Payments Association presents a comprehensive program of activities, enabling industry participants to forge connections and build the bridges that join the payments ecosystem together and make it stronger. Activities staged by the Payments Association include monthly digital and in-person events, as well as an annual conference, CEO roundtables, training activities, PAY360, and the PAY360 Awards dinner.

One of seven projects launched by the Payments Association with the aim of positively shaping the future of the payments landscape, Project ESG was created with the mission of achieving an EEDI-centered vision for the payments industry.

Practices undertaken as part of Project ESG will include focusing on areas of operations that organizations can impact directly, including simple steps such as identifying how employees are recruited, managed, and motivated. The initiative is also intended to address the environmental aspects of ESG, looking at what the payments industry as a whole can do to make itself more sustainable from an environmental perspective.

Charles Radclyffe is the CEO at EthicsGrade and an ambassador for Project ESG. He said he was delighted to launch the project, championing progressive strategies for the payments industry to operate in a more sustainable way. Mr Radclyffe admitted that the ambassadors had a packed schedule, tasked with raising awareness and supporting companies as they learn and implement new procedures and policies to ensure they have a positive impact on the environment, society, and governance.

Tom Brewin is the Payments Association’s head of projects. Speaking at the project’s launch, he indicated that Project ESG sought to contribute to the industry, driving industry change by harnessing the collective expertise of the Payment Association’s members. Mr Brewin highlighted the need for the payments industry to recognize ESG as an opportunity for growth, explaining that it must embrace the chance to deliver more for stakeholders. Tom Brewin said he had been “blown away” by the support members that had shown for the initiative, adding that he could not wait to get started.

Project ESG is proud to support the ‘Best ESG Initiative In Payments’ category at the PAY360 Awards 2023, a category that was created to celebrate companies operating in the payments industry that have successfully embedded ESG into their business strategies.

Claire Preece