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Why ESG Investing Is Becoming More Important



Author: Urtė Karklienė, Sustainability Manager at Oxylabs


Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) term was first mentioned in a 2004 report by United Nations – Who Cares Wins. Their report was an outcome of a collaborative effort to improve asset management, securities brokerage services, and related research operations with respect to environmental, social, and corporate governance concerns.

ESG movement has come a long way since the Who Cares Wins report – the field of ESG investing has expanded to encompass financial materiality, ethical considerations, and alignment with values. What in 2004 was just a presumption, now, according to a McKinsey report, establishing a strong ESG strategy is undoubtedly connected to increased company value creation. ESG factors are now incorporated alongside traditional financial analysis by many investors into their investment process.

Understanding ESG investing

ESG investing is an investment approach that considers environmental, social, and governance factors in addition to traditional financial considerations when making investment decisions.

It is a type of values-based investing where investors seek to invest in companies that align with their personal values and have a positive global impact. This alignment is based on the long-term future, so more factors, such as avoiding investments in companies that produce or sell addictive substances or activities and favoring companies committed to social justice, environmental sustainability, and alternative energy/clean technology, should be included.

Impact on organizations

There is a rising recognition of the need to address ESG issues. This awareness has been partly driven by high-profile corporate scandals such as Volkswagen emissions misconduct and partly by increasing pressure from society, customers, and employees for companies to take actions related to sustainability. According to a Porter Novelli Tracker report, nearly 70 percent of employees say they wouldn’t work for a company without a strong purpose.

Report results show that sustainability issues are important to employees and consumers, which means that this topic helps to attract and retain employees and increase sales, resulting in investor interest in companies with sustainability strategies.

On the other hand, initiatives such as JFK Airport building microgrids and solar panels on the new terminal’s rooftop or Lululemon launching first products with nylon from plants instead of fossil fuels show that companies are transitioning and looking for more sustainable ways to conduct business.

Additionally, investors increasingly recognize that ESG factors can impact financial performance. In fact, according to Honeywell, more than 90% of companies are planning to increase their budget for environmental sustainability in 2023.

A study has also found that companies with strong ESG practices tend to outperform those with weak ESG practices. As investors become more sophisticated, they are starting to consider ESG factors when making investment decisions.

It is postulated that ESG-driven companies are better managed, have stronger governance structures, and generate higher returns for investors. Additionally, companies focusing on ESG factors tend to be more resilient to macroeconomic shocks and environmental risks.

There’s an increasing trend among institutional investors to include ESG factors in their strategies. Several large institutional investors, including pension funds, have made commitments to integrate ESG factors into their decision-making, resulting in a considerable impact on the ESG market.

Finally, government regulations are starting to catch up with the growth of ESG investing. In some countries, including the United States and European Union, regulators are beginning to require the disclosure of certain ESG information. This will likely increase pressure on companies to improve their ESG practices.

Shifting investor focus

The asset management industry is expected to see a substantial increase in ESG-related assets under management (AuM) over the next few years, according to a 2022 report by PwC. The report predicts that by 2026, global ESG-related AuM will rise to $33.9 trillion, up from $18.1 trillion in 2021.

This corresponds to an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9%, and ESG assets are on track to comprise 21.5% of the world’s total AuM within the next five years. These figures illustrate a significant and ongoing asset and wealth management (AWM) industry shift.

Additionally, according to PwC’s projections, the growth of ESG-focused AuM will outpace the overall AWM market. The United States, the largest AWM market globally, is expected to see its ESG-focused AuM more than double from $4.5 trillion in 2021 to $10.5 trillion by 2026.

In Europe, ESG-focused AuM is projected to increase by 53%, reaching $19.6 trillion, following a 172% increase in 2021 alone. Other regions are also experiencing growth in ESG investments. The Asia-Pacific area is predicted to have the highest growth rate percentage, with ESG AuM more than tripling to $3.3 trillion by 2026. Additionally, ESG products are gaining traction in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, accounting for $25 billion in AuM.

The pressure of reducing emissions and becoming more sustainable businesses is not only influenced by the shifting focus of the investors. Institutions are also taking action to incentivize sustainable business development. Starting from the 2025 financial year, companies in Europe in the scope of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) will be required to provide ESG reporting.

Starting With ESG

Developing ESG processes is critical for companies that want to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. There are several steps that businesses should take to start forming ESG processes, such as:


  • Keep up with regulations and compliance. Identify the ESG-related regulations and reporting standards that apply to business and make arrangements in advance to ensure that the company complies with them. There are various frameworks companies can use to create their ESG plan. For instance, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board provide insight into ESG issues.
  • Identify key ESG issues. Companies should identify the most critical ESG issues relevant to their business.
  • Set appropriate ESG goals. Once the key issues have been identified, companies should set specific goals and targets to address them.
  • Create an ESG policy. An ESG policy outlines a company’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
  • Engage stakeholders. Companies should engage with key stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and investors, to get their input on ESG issues and goals.
  • Measure and report on progress. Companies should establish metrics for tracking their progress toward ESG goals and report on their performance regularly.


With increased awareness of sustainability issues and a growing desire for businesses to be held accountable for their actions, investors recognize the potential benefits and rewards of aligning their portfolios with ESG principles.

Companies and investors prioritizing environmental responsibility now consider a company’s ESG metrics when making investment choices. As we move towards a more sustainable future, integrating ESG principles will continue to be a critical component of the business landscape.



Revolutionizing Risk: Innovative Derivatives to Support the Evolution of Commercial Space




By Grant Gryska, Co-Founder and Director of Markets at Allocation.Space


The space economy continues to expand rapidly, crossing $500bn in revenue in 2022, 78% of which came from the commercial sector[1]. Major developments like the successful test launch of SpaceX’s massive Starship are set to radically change the cost of getting mass to orbit, unlocking new possibilities for business in space.

This growing market presents outsized opportunities for investors, insurers, and businesses. But, as enterprises extend their reach beyond Earth’s atmosphere, risk management tools must evolve to meet the new and unique challenges they face. A new generation of derivative instruments is emerging to support the commercial space sector while complementing traditional insurance models.

A Paradigm Shift in Risk Management

Traditionally, space ventures were funded by governments and international space agencies — institutions that were able to absorb risk and ignore bottom-line concerns. The arrival of private space companies such as SpaceX, Vast, and Blue Origin represents a material shift in the trajectory of commercial space. National interest is no longer enough; space ventures must also turn a profit, which means managing risk. These enterprises are pushing the boundaries of what is possible, requiring a comparable evolution in financial tools to support their endeavors.

Grant Gryska

We’re now seeing a new generation of companies building platforms to host derivatives that enable enhanced risk management for the space industry. By hosting these products on a Swap Execution Facility (SEF), the aim is to bring pricing transparency and efficiency to the sector via a centralized venue. Unlike traditional insurance, which often relies on predefined policies and premiums designed to mitigate specific critical loss, swap contracts do not require proof of any actual loss or attribution, broadening the universe of potential participants in this growing market.

Derivative Instruments for Commercial Space

Derivative instruments tailored for the commercial space sector will help mitigate risks and enhance financial flexibility as the barriers to entry come down and competition increases.

  1. Space Weather Derivatives (SWDs): With satellite anomalies demonstrating a 74% correlation[2] with geomagnetic disturbances caused by the solar wind, these products will become invaluable in managing revenue loss due to these disruptions. SWDs will ensure a smoother execution of space missions and terrestrial applications such as power grid management.
  2. Space Derivative Contracts (SDCs): SDCs allow investors and companies to hedge against price fluctuations in space-related assets. Whether it’s fuel, space-based resources, or payload rate indexes across launch platforms and locations, these products provide a means to lock in prices, offering stability in an otherwise volatile market.
  3. Space Options (SOs): Like traditional financial options, SOs provide the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a space asset at a predetermined price and time. This allows investors to capitalize on favorable market conditions while limiting downside risk.
  4. Space Risk Swaps (SRS): SRSs enable entities to exchange or transfer specific risks associated with space activities. For instance, a satellite operator concerned about launch delay or orbital debris may enter an SRS with a risk-taking party, effectively transferring the risk to them. These products diversify risk and encourage collaboration among industry players providing complementary services like debris mitigation.

Complementing Traditional Insurance: Bridging the Coverage Gap

While traditional insurance remains a fundamental component of risk management, derivative instruments offer a more nuanced approach targeting the risks to revenue. These products provide a level of risk granularity that traditional insurance may lack or be unable to cover economically, which has left 99% of LEO (Low Earth Orbit), and 73% of MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) and GEO (Geostationary Orbit) satellites uninsured on orbit as of 2022[3]. This is crucial in an industry where risks to launch platforms, satellite technologies, and commercial objectives can be highly specific and variable.

The Future of Space and Derivative Instruments

There’s a growing cluster of companies looking to transform the financial products and venues supporting the commercialization of space. The derivative instruments being developed with the help of space industry players will provide a forward-looking and adaptive approach to risk management for space, complementing traditional insurance models.

As the commercial space sector continues its trajectory beyond Earth, these innovative financial tools will play a pivotal role in ensuring a robust and resilient financial ecosystem for companies participating in the space economy.



[2] Choi, H. S., J. Lee, K. S. Cho, Y. S. Kwak et al., 2011, Analysis of GEO spacecraft
anomalies: Space Weather relationships
, Space Weather, 9, S06001.


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2024 Payments Predictions




Alan Irwin, Vice President of Product & Solutions Europe, Global Payments:

Open banking in 2024 will be all about the consumer 

“2023 has been a huge year for open banking adoption, surging 68.2% from the previous year to hit 4.2 million users in the UK in July. Open banking enables consumers to provide third-party providers (TPPs) with secure access to their payments account, meaning that payments can be made through these TTPs directly from their payments account and without the need for cards.

“With more people using open banking for payments, in 2024 consumer expectations of open banking are likely to increase dramatically. Consumers will demand higher levels of speed, convenience, and security around open banking as a payment method. As a result, there will be a renewed focus on the availability and performance of APIs and user interfaces. Without improving these features, TTPs will see growth in open banking payments stagnate and even struggle to compete with digital wallets and standard cards.

“2024 will also see a stronger emphasis placed on consumer protection from fraud and scammers. With £239.2 million lost to authorised push payments (APP) fraud in the first six months of 2023, security is front of mind for businesses and their customer bases. A key differentiator for open banking and card payments is the liability protection offered by cards through the disputes and chargeback processes. Merchants and consumers alike want the power to protect themselves with tools and processes to limit financial exposure. As such, to grow in the coming year, TTPs will need to develop and implement enhanced risk and fraud prevention tools to help drive confidence in the payment channel and mitigate concerns around exposure.”

Competition between old and new banks will intensify around convenience

“Growth in consumers’ desire for a financial ‘super app’ experience will put a great deal of pressure on traditional financial institutions and increase competition between neobanks and legacy banks in 2024. A financial ‘super app’ is a single mobile application that can be used to manage all aspects of your financial life, including services that range across savings, investments, mortgages, and payments, for example.

“Neobanks, such as Revolut, are creeping into ‘super app’ territory: providing a range of services, from shopping discounts and savings pockets to instant currency conversions and stock investing, all on a single mobile application. So far, these developments are almost exclusively in the consumer banking space. However, in 2024 we will see the neobanks push their payments offerings further up the value chain into the B2B world, challenging traditional banks on another front.”

Ecommerce checkout enhancements

“In 2024, payments providers and their clients will place a fresh emphasis on customer experience, as demand for convenient and slick payment processes continues to increase. Currently, 69.57% of online shopping carts are abandoned and less than one fifth (17%) of retail, leisure and hospitality transactions are made through digital wallets, showing that much more needs to be done to offer smoother payment infrastructure online and in-store. As such, in 2024 businesses will focus on customer experience as a means of increasing customer loyalty and slashing cart abandonment rates in the process. Moving away from slow, clunky payment experiences to offer customers the ability to pay for something with a few clicks through biometrics, which allow customers to pay with a simple face or fingerprint scan, and digital wallets, which store customer payment information, is the primary method that businesses should be using as we approach the new year to tackle this issue.”

Data Storage and Keeping Customers On-Site

“Providing a top-quality payments experience will go hand-in-hand with ensuring that consumers feel safe at the checkout, especially with soaring cybercrime. In 2024 we’re likely to see more use of card data storage and tokenisation to further reduce cart abandonment rates as they allow consumers to store their card details for future use, making their next purchase at the ecommerce store much faster. Network tokens in particular, which are tokenised payment details saved for a specific card and merchant pair, drive higher approval rates for merchants and offer a more secure form of payment than raw card data entry. In addition to this, continuously updating customers’ card data further reduces friction in the checkout and drives better cart conversion.

“What’s more, customers are also put off payments when they are redirected to another (3rd party) site to complete it, as it is unfamiliar to the rest of the checkout process, often doesn’t carry the merchant brand and thus deemed insecure. Therefore, reducing site changes as much as possible and using clear branding and UX to ensure customers are aware that they’re still on this same site is key to instilling a sense of security. Similarly, real-time data validation built into the payment form can prevent bad data from being entered in the first place, such as invalid PAN, expiry date, or security code, as well as keeping out bad actors from spamming through card data en masse.”

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