Meet the startup aiming to kick-start green fintech

The founder of World Wide Generation says that fintech can significantly impact global sustainability.

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Green finance is on the rise. World Wide Generation (WWG) is a company that uses blockchain to promote eco-friendly technologies to tackle the UN’s sustainable development goals. WWG founder and chief executive, Manjula Lee, launched the startup in 2016, after a “serendipitous” conversation with Prince Charles, and the company established G17Eco – a platform that encourages green digital finance initiatives. It provides an interoperable, transparent marketplace for sustainable investing and is used to unite government, business, civil society and communities into one ecosystem. “The organisation’s goal is to achieve a global resolution on poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030,” says Lee.

Lee compares the G17Eco platform to a “virtual home to house and track all your sustainable initiatives”. The platform works with fintech companies to assist them in planning their G17Eco home, built using “data rooms”, featuring high-tech and cost-effective ways of monitoring and managing the entire investment value chain. The initiative allows users to manage ecosystem programmes with various companies across multiple territories, providing real-time monitoring to ensure everything is on track.

Because blockchain records are irreversible, Lee says “the data can be trusted and fully traceable. G17Eco comes with our Universal Trackers data bots, to help you safeguard your sustainable development goal investments, transparently showing you where your money is going, measuring the impact against the SDGs and helping you reduce costs and risks.”

Lee explains that funds invested in green infrastructure and renewable energy will make the most impact. Fintech could potentially impact third-world countries’ strategic priorities and help them to progress through their stages of development, especially those with lagging financial systems. 

Lee was one of a select few to accompany the Prime Minister during her week-long trip to Africa in August after she pitched her post-Brexit strategy to the cabinet. As a result, she now serves the City of London’s Global Steering Committee for Sustainable Development Finance to assist in positioning “London as the sustainable development finance capital of the world”. During their trip, Lee says, she and Theresa May discussed some trade deals with Africa, which would give the UK an opportunity to provide money to “really move Africa from aid to trade”.

Lee, who also works with the global committee group Sustainable Development Capital Initiative, says: “By 2030 [we] will look back and say that it was Britain that galvanised the world to deliver global resolution on poverty, equality and what an achievement that would be, and not to mention that the economic argument is massive.”

WWG is currently working on a project with Unilever that helps those in poorer countries. “We have now gone live with Unilever on one of the most prominent programmes, which is about delivering sanitation and hygiene products to schools in South Africa,” Lee says. “We built a model for them for five schools that monitors and measures the value chain of the whole programme.”

The agenda promotes hygiene in schools in third-world countries, teaching children how to brush their teeth and clean their bathrooms. It currently helps around 300 schools in South Africa, with the goal of eventually taking on 1,700 schools.