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Bank customers demand sustainability

More than one in three people are prepared to change banks if they do not experience their current one as sufficiently climate-conscious. This is shown in a new survey which reveals increased awareness of sustainability amongst consumers over several parameters.

18. Jan 2022
2 min
Af Birgitte Aabo
baa@finansforbundet.dk
In large numbers, bank customers declare themselves ready to shop around and find a new financial institution if they do not think their current one takes climate issues seriously enough. 
If that is the case, many customers will apparently start looking around soon. Almost four out of ten bank customers intend to look into their financial institution’s climate awareness within the coming year. 
Amongst these climate-conscious bank customers, eight out of ten will be prepared to switch banks if they do not feel convinced that sustainability is sufficiently prioritised.

Sustainability triggers purchasing

The survey - which was conducted by the consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners and includes more than 10,000 consumers, of which about 800 are Danes - also shows that sustainability is a key purchasing criterion for many people. Over 40 per cent of consumers thus take sustainability into account before purchasing services from companies in the financial sector. 
This was considered by the consultants behind the study to be a relatively high proportion, considering that it may seem less accessible to choose sustainably for a bank or pension company compared with choosing sustainably when buying food and clothing.
“The demand for more sustainable products and advice will increase, and if a financial company wants to keep and win customers, there is no way around focusing on sustainability”, says Morten Kaae Sørensen, partner and Head of Financial Services in the Nordic countries in Simon-Kucher & Partners.
“If consumers cannot get sufficiently competent advice from the traditional banks, alternative providers will certainly be created which will challenge the financial sector simply by focusing on sustainability. The banks will thus be challenged by both consumers and new competitors.”

Another challenge

That position is not shared by Finansforbundet’s Vice-President, Michael Budolfsen:
“In the financial sector in particular, the advisers’ professionalism and personal advice are the best guarantee that customers can invest sustainably. I simply don’t think there is anyone who can compete with that. So it’s entirely up to the financial sector itself whether it wants to play on that course.”
He sees the biggest challenge here and now as being elsewhere: 
“There has to be better transparency around the companies’ sustainability. That’s why it’s really important that we get the taxonomies in place”, says Michael Budolfsen.
“Because when the taxonomies – the EU classification system for sustainable activities – are fully in place, companies will report on all the so-called ESG parameters, which include environment, social conditions and corporate governance. This will make it easier to determine how sustainable a company is”, the Vice-President points out.