London – Today SC Ventures, the innovation arm of Standard Chartered Bank announced the launch of Shoal, a new digital platform powered by Starling Banking Services that will give UK savers the power to help fund the fight against climate change.
Launching in 2022, Shoal will invest exclusively in green and sustainable projects, and will give savers the power to select the types of project their money supports. In this way, Shoal will empower its community to channel their savings directly to the causes that matter most to them.
The first offering on the Shoal marketplace will be a savings account. Customers will be invited to select from a shortlist of options such as renewable energy, clean water, and community development. Once they have chosen a theme or combination of themes to support, their money will be used exclusively to fund projects aligned with those themes. They will receive regular updates on the projects they have helped fund, alongside a competitive rate of return.
Allowing direct customer choice in this way fundamentally disrupts the traditional ethical banking model, which has tended to be defined by the activity that is screened out rather than allowing customers to select the projects that receive funding.
Shoal signifies a major development in the UK banking sector, combining Standard Chartered’s leadership on sustainability and unique global footprint with Starling Bank’s best-in-class digital capabilities and Banking as a Service (BaaS) offering in the UK. Shoal will be added to the Starling Marketplace in due course, enabling existing Starling Bank customers to benefit from this new digital sustainable offering. As part of the broader strategy this new partnership intends to expand Shoal into Europe.
Starling’s BaaS proposition has enabled Shoal to develop and build a unique product at scale and at speed. Using Starling’s technology and API’s, payments can be made instantly into sustainable savings funds with Shoal. With Starling’s banking licence all accounts will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This model enables Shoal to focus on customer acquisition and service and delivers a front-end app with a superior user experience, while Starling ‘powers’ the overall solution.
Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered, said: “Our vision is to become the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank. While we looked to the COP26 conference to accelerate government action, our partnership with Starling Bank is an example of the private sector taking decisive steps to scale climate investment. With Shoal, we’re excited to build a platform that will unlock much-needed retail capital to fund sustainable projects in parts of the world where the impact will be greatest and give savers the power to make good money, whilst making money do good.”
Anne Boden, CEO and Founder, Starling Bank, commented: “At Starling Bank we’re making banking better. That is why we are pleased to deploy Starling’s Banking as a Service proposition in partnership with Standard Chartered to help their customers live ever more sustainably. Starling will handle the technical and regulatory demands behind the scenes, leaving Shoal to take care of their customers.”
Alex Manson of SC Ventures, said: “Sustainability is one of the high conviction themes for SC Ventures as we explore different business models. With Shoal, we are creating a new venture to address the growing need of retail clients for sustainable financial and non-financial products, starting with UK and expanding to other markets over time.”
Users can visit www.joinshoal.co.uk to register their interest.
There is an annual US$5-7 trillion shortfall in the private financing needed to fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At current rates, private finance is managing to cover just 1.5% of the annual global investment need. There is an urgent need to scale up private finance to fund much needed climate adaptation, renewable energy and infrastructure projects, especially across emerging markets where the impact of climate change is most acute.
In the UK, more than one-fifth (22%) of domestic investors are planning to invest in dedicated ethical funds in the near future, with the proportion rising to more than one-third (35%) among those aged 35 and under. Yet, amongst savers, a recent survey found that 72% of respondents with savings or pensions did not know whether their money is invested in line with their environmental and social values.
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For further information please contact:
Executive Director, Group Media Relations
Standard Chartered Bank
+44 20 7885 5934
Notes to editors
Starling Bank is an award-winning, fully-licensed and regulated UK bank built to give people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past. Starling built its proprietary banking technology and digital capabilities from scratch. Starling Banking Services offers innovative B2B banking and payments services through its Banking as a Service model to provide Starling’s award-winning banking experience to other brands – all via simple APIs. Headquartered in London, it has offices in Southampton, Cardiff and Dublin. Visit www.starlingbank.com