Newswise — “Financial technologies offer great promise to tackle climate change and provide pathways for developing sustainable economies and lifestyles,” says Aparna Gupta, a professor of quantitative finance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and co-director of the Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT), the first-ever fintech research center backed by the National Science Foundation. CRAFT brings together industry partners and policy makers to conduct research that is relevant for industry and has potential for commercialization.

Dr. Gupta says that blockchain technologies combined with smart contracts and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are set to transform property and casualty insurance that is subject to increasing threats from climate change. Similarly, distributed ledger technologies can be utilized for issuing innovative climate finance securities, such as green bonds and climate derivatives, by facilitating traceable, transparent, and standardized transactions. Regulatory readiness to support blockchain-enabled green bonds and other climate finance securities issuance is underway across the globe.

Climate fintech is also set to play a pivotal role in increasing renewable power generation and accelerating the transition to clean energy, according to Dr. Gupta.

Digital lending platforms use crowdsourcing models to provide debt financing for residential solar energy systems. Climate-conscious consumers can make spending decisions that minimize their carbon footprint through solutions such as using a credit card that allows them to round up their purchases and use the change for planting trees.

In the investment management and advisory space, there is a growing recognition of the need for environmentally sustainable investing. Responding to this need, fintech startups are offering platforms for clean energy investments and enabling investors to construct low-carbon-impact financial portfolios.

“Financial technologies innovations are poised to transform almost all aspects of financial services, and in doing so, offer great opportunities to address climate change challenges,” Dr. Gupta says.

In addition to her leadership in fintech, Dr. Gupta is at the helm of a team of financial and renewable energy experts developing risk management tools to incorporate renewable energy into the energy market. They will set and standardize risk factors to make it easier for this critical industry to be both productive for investors and creators and systematized for users, similar to the rating system created for the bond market.

Dr. Gupta also serves on the Climate Risk Working Group of the Financial Risk Manager Advisory Committee for the Global Association of Risk Professionals tasked with identifying the important climate issues for the training of future global risk professionals.

Dr. Gupta is among the many experts and researchers at Rensselaer available to speak on this topic.