Finance

the French increasingly sensitive to the meaning given to their money

The climate emergency is leading all sectors to support the ecological transition. And the savings-payment-consumption triptych is no exception to this green revolution.

It is well known that in France, people like to save – the Banque de France thus estimated in a report published in September 2021 that the surplus savings accumulated by the French since the start of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to 157 billion euros. Nearly half of French women and men are increasingly sensitive to the orientation given to this savings, according to a study conducted by OpinionWay on the subject in July 2021, giving priority, for example, to renewable energies or modes. of local production. In fact, responsible investment is enjoying undeniable success with more than 200 billion euros in assets under management in France and Europe, according to an Ifop study for the Forum pour l’Investissement Responsable in 2020, when it only represented than 3.5 billion in France 15 years ago, as a study conducted by Novethic already noted in 2005. Beyond savings, consumption and the payment sector are also evolving towards this more sustainable and responsible trend.

While several companies in the payment sector are now positioning themselves on a method of manufacturing payment cards that is more respectful of nature (recycled or biodegradable materials), other initiatives in France aim to promote the act of payment itself as a positive action – and with impact – in favor of environmental protection. For example, users offer cashback in favor of impact projects. With each payment, part of the amount spent is thus reimbursed in the cardholder’s donation pool, who can then donate it to a partner association of their choice. Enough to allow the consumer to use his card in an active and societal approach, while retaining the benefit of security, simplicity and innovation offered by a payment network. A network to serve them to consume, again in a more responsible way.

Consumers are indeed concerned about reconciling purchases made in complete safety while caring about their impact on the environment, and this while online purchases have increased during the pandemic, with consequences in terms of transport, logistics and packaging. According to the 2019 Nielsen Responsible Drinking Report, a majority of consumers worldwide (73%) already say they would definitely or probably change their drinking habits to reduce their impact on the environment. It is in this context that retail players, particularly online, must therefore strive to reduce the burden that their activities place on the environment: for example by using electric delivery vehicles or by optimizing their logistics, or by using recycled packaging materials.

Today there are a multitude of initiatives and practices that offer meaning to the savings, payment and consumption of French men and women, who are aware of environmental societal issues. However, despite the growing interest aroused, responsible finance, payment and consumption and its variations have yet to gain some of their confidence. In the absence of a standardized definition of what does or does not come within the scope of responsible finance, savers-consumers often remain skeptical about the multitude of initiatives that do not fulfill their role. However, the challenge is considerable: to make responsible and sustainable financial and purchasing solutions available and understandable to as many people as possible.

Players in the payment or financial sector should therefore endeavor to reassure consumers. On the one hand on the fact that their payments can have a concrete, measurable positive impact chosen in advance. On the other hand, for savers, informed or not, on the fact that their investments in projects having a positive environmental impact can have a performance similar to that of other financial products currently available.

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