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Leaders recognise the importance of green transport at COP27, but we need data

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By Devin De Vries, CEO, WhereIsMyTransport

 

The COP27 summit, which recently wrapped up in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, promised to bring sustainable transport to the forefront of the annual climate talks. As much as there’s a certain irony in an event where many delegates arrived by private jet (some 400 are believed to have landed in Egypt through the course of the conference) talking about sustainable transport is important.

At present, transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuel of any sector and was responsible for 37% of CO2 emissions from end‐use sectors in 2021. But making the sector sustainable is about more than just reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. Some countries (most notably in Europe) have taken strong steps in ending the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles, but that can only achieve so much.

There needs to be a concerted effort towards sustainability from across the transport sector. That includes both getting more people onto public transport and making existing networks more efficient. The latter is particularly important in the Majority World, where most people rely on informal networks and operators for their daily commuting needs. But if the world is really serious about making the changes needed for transport to be sustainable, especially in the Majority World, data is essential.

Finding fuel efficiency in shorter commutes

In order to understand why data is so important, it’s worth taking a deeper look at some of the challenges commuters and transport operators in the Majority World face.

The world’s fastest-growing cities are almost all in emerging markets. Places where population growth has outstripped the city’s ability to scale its public transport infrastructure to match the need. As a result, commuters predominantly use either their own privately owned transport (if they can afford it) or informal public transport, which has grown to meet demand.

While those informal networks and operators play an important role, especially when it comes to getting people from underserved areas to and from work, they—like every other vehicle—also contribute to traffic in some of the most heavily congested cities on the planet.

In Bangkok, for example, commuters can waste a week per year stuck in traffic, meaning available information on road conditions is highly valued. And in Dar es Salaam, less than one in 10 households own a car in the city, so 43% of commuters use public transport to get to and from work daily.

Given the very real link between congestion and increased emissions, any efficiencies that can be found are bound to be beneficial to the planet as well as to commuters and operators. That’s especially true when you consider how far many of these cities are from being able to adopt emission-free transport options at scale. But in order for this more efficient vision to become a reality, data is critical.

Authentic, on-the-ground data

Accurate, location-based data made easily available does a number of things. Commuters, for example, are able to choose the most efficient routes (reducing their personal emissions). The same is true for transport operators, who can also get a better sense of where their hubs need to be in order to cater to customers as efficiently as possible. Utilised effectively, it can help them make more money with fewer vehicles spending less time on the road.

But this kind of data can also be beneficial to businesses, helping them put their distribution centres and retail locations in places that are as close to their customers as possible. That again results in shoppers having to take fewer, and shorter, trips.

At WhereIsMyTransport, we understand just how powerful authentic, on-the-ground data can be. It’s why we built our consumer product Rumbo—an app which makes informed travel by public transport possible, and sustainable mobility more realistic for people.

This kind of data-driven approach isn’t just important for Majority-World cities either. No matter where you are, it can help make the electrification of mobility networks possible, informed by knowledge of how the complete system really operates. It can also help build the investment case for working on mobility networks.

Beyond COP

Ultimately then, no matter which transport resolutions made at COP27 come to fruition, it should be clear that data has a critical role to play. But data, applied effectively, can also help commuters and operators alike ensure that transport is more sustainable, regardless of what decisions are made by those in power.

When you get mobility right, the rest follows. The benefits of transport informed by accurate location-based data extend far beyond the environment. They also include, among other things, more livable cities with people who are less stressed out and who have more time to spend with their friends and families.

In the wake of a COP that seemed less optimistic than previous editions, that’s a vision worth fighting for.

Business

SVEA BANK ACQUIRES AREX’S FINTECH OPERATION IN FINLAND

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AREX Markets, the data-driven FinTech company that drives financing costs down for SMEs and enables them to get paid quicker, has announced the sale of its Finland operations to Swedish payment and financing institution Svea Bank.

With the deal, Svea will further strengthen its position as a corporate financier, as AREX’s c.1200 Finnish customers and partnerships in the areas of financial management and financial management software will be transferred to the bank’s portfolio. The Finnish operation of AREX has financed over EUR 500M worth of invoices.

AREX’s Spanish and UK operations remain unaffected and remain focused on building embeddable financing products for third party platforms. Customers in Finland have been informed of their transition, and their contracts and service details will port across to Svea.

Svea is reshaping the playing field of corporate finance in Finland, and taking on the operations of AREX in the region is a natural step to strengthen their own business and at the same time offer AREX’s partners and customers an easy path to a wider range of services than before.

“Over the years, Svea has grown a lot also through business transactions, therefore acquiring AREX’s business operations in Finland was a good and natural solution for us. In addition, the deal is pleasant for us at Svea because the focus of our activities is to help partners and customers succeed – offering AREX’s partners and customers a wider range of services is exactly that,” says Pasi Väre, country manager of Svea in Finland.

The deal also brings new opportunities for AREX to focus on the UK and Europe in its roll out of embeddable financing products, which can be white-labelled by neobanks, ERPs and accounting software alike. The business is seeking to bridge the liquidity gap faced by most small businesses in the face of a recessive economic climate.

UK SME’s can continue to access AREX’s core invoice financing product through the Xero marketplace.

“For us at AREX, this is a great step: we are developing a stronger presence in the field of embedded finance, which is underpinned by our sophisticated marketplace software, our strongest point,” says AREX’s CEO, Airto Vienola.

“For the AREX team it was extremely important that we find the best possible corporate financier to take care of the business’ customers and partnerships in Finland. Svea convinced us with their customer and partner-centric approach”, adds AREX’s co-founder Perttu Jalkanen.

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ICICI Lombard and AU Small Finance Bank announce Bancassurance tie-up

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ICICI Lombard General Insurance, India’s leading private sector non-life insurance company, is entering into a Bancassurance tie-up with AU Small Finance Bank. The partnership will provide the Bank’s diverse customers access to the insurer’s portfolio and enhance penetration across India.

AU Bank is rapidly expanding its distribution footprints across India and this tie-up between two giants in their respective industries will aim to further enrich its general insurance offering with agile, digital & paperless solutions offered by ICICI Lombard. The entire suite of products will be offered across 980+ banking touchpoints spread over 20 states & 2 union territories. The customer centric products will provide long-term financial security to customers and their families. With both organizations believing in offering the best to the customers through innovation and consistency, this partnership would offer customers the best of both worlds.

Speaking about the partnership Mr. Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, of ICICI Lombard said, ““At ICICI Lombard, we are in constant endeavour to provide consumers and businesses effective risk management solutions based on their evolving needs. As an industry leader, we are excited to partner with AU Small Finance Bank – India’s largest small finance bank, in providing customers a comprehensive product portfolio. This partnership will help further strengthen our distribution and unravel growth opportunities through the bank’s wide network. With our extensive range of customised solutions for risk management we are confident that we will be able to address varied customer segments across India.”

Highlighting the key aspects of this strategic partnership, Mr. Uttam Tibrewal, Executive Director, AU Small Finance Bank, said, “AU Small Finance Bank always prides in providing customer centric solutions and services. Expanding our bouquet of financial services and customer value proposition, we wanted to associate with additional general insurance partner to add value to our existing range of products & services while helping our customers plan for better financial security. We welcome ICICI Lombard as our valued insurance partner who, we believe, has the ability and experience to understand customers’ needs and offer them customized need-based solutions and provide seamless services. I am sure, the customer-friendly products of ICICI Lombard, combined with our extensive presence and robust technological capabilities, will be the right mix to increase insurance penetration.”

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