At a Glance
• First Carbon neutral and B Corp Fintech in Italy
• mtCO2e 87.35 saved in 2022 compared to on-premises alternatives thanks to Temenos and its switch to Azure
• More than 100,000 trees planted as part of innovative carbon-offsetting initiatives.
Flowe represents a groundbreaking concept that combines personal banking and environmental sustainability. Founded in 2019 by Italy’s Banca Mediolanum, the challenger bank aims to empower people to live happier and more sustainable lives. With a strong focus on the Millennial and Generation Z market segments, Flowe is a mobile-only bank that makes it easy for people to manage their money while also protecting the planet.
Marco Segato, Head of Augmented Intelligence at Flowe, explains: “Unlike many banks that regard sustainability as just a supplement to their main operations, we regard it as a core value. That means that everything, from the products we develop to the actions we take, is put in place only after careful consideration of the impact on the environment. Our Board of Directors is deeply committed to the development of our environmental, social, and governance [ESG] strategy, which is one of our key differentiators.”
A banking model that builds a better future
From the outset, Flowe has pursued a comprehensive ESG strategy. As well as a passionate focus on environmental sustainability to tackle climate change, the bank aims to pursue social initiatives that empower both employees and customers and support them in their personal and professional lives. The challenge for Flowe has been to combine these efforts with the delivery of its core mobile banking services.
To achieve this, Flowe needed more than a strong internal mandate and business model—it also needed the support of like-minded partners and the right technology platforms. And that’s why the bank has always aimed to work with service providers who place a similar emphasis on ESG issues, including technology companies that offer eco-friendly solutions that help to optimize energy efficiency.
“When we first considered how to turn the concept of Flowe into reality, we were determined to place green technologies at the heart of our operations. This approach would enable us to achieve key ESG objectives such as minimizing our harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and ensuring we could scale our customer base with the lowest possible environmental impact.”Marco Segato, Head of Augmented Intelligence at Flowe
Choosing cloud-based technologies to minimize direct emissions
To develop its sustainable mobile banking proposition, Flowe selected an integrated ecosystem consisting of Temenos Transact, Temenos Payments, and Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation, running as Temenos Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) on Microsoft Azure. The cloud-based architecture removes the need for the bank to run and power its own on-premises services, keeping its direct carbon emissions as low as possible.
Flowe worked with Temenos to move the mobile app from design to launch, going live within five months. The mobile banking app features a dedicated video section, with features on topics ranging from environmental sustainability to financial education, mindfulness, and entrepreneurship. This represents a key element of Flowe’s social initiatives, giving users the chance to learn new professional skills and develop healthier lifestyles.
Since initial launch, the combination of core banking, fraud prevention, and payments processing capabilities from Temenos have enabled Flowe to manage its rapid growth with ease. Today, the bank has successfully onboarded more than 600,000 customers. And the elastic scalability of Temenos SaaS ensures Flowe can handle peaks in demand without any performance issues or impact on the user experience.
Connecting with green pioneers to tackle the climate crisis
The sophisticated API capabilities of Temenos Transact have also proved crucial in supporting Flowe’s vision of sustainable mobile banking. The bank has integrated its core platform with systems of many partners that share the same determination to tackle climate change and protect natural ecosystems.
One key partner is reforestation start-up zeroCO2, which plants trees in Guatemala to offset emissions generated by Flowe customer transactions and the issuing of cards. When a customer requests a Flowe debit card—made of wood sourced from sustainable FSC certificated forests—the bank dedicates a tree to them. The customer can also use the app to see where their tree has been planted and follow its growth through photos sent by zeroCO2. And for every 100 transactions made by customers, Flowe also plants a tree.
“To date, zeroCO2 has planted more than 102,000 trees on behalf of Flowe and our customers, offsetting more than 50 million kilos of carbon dioxide [CO2]. The trees are looked after by local communities in Guatemala, supporting food production and income generation, at the same as reforestation.”Marco Segato, Head of Augmented Intelligence at Flowe
In addition, Flowe has also partnered with Swedish startup Doconomy, using the firm’s transaction impact calculator to power its EcoBalance tool. With EcoBalance, Flowe users can calculate the climate footprint of their transactions, giving them a tangible way to understand the environmental impact of their purchasing habits and helping them making more climate-conscious and eco-friendly choices.
Continuing the journey to carbon neutrality
Working with Temenos SaaS has enabled Flowe to optimize energy efficiency and minimize the harmful emissions caused by its operations. Research from Microsoft indicates that adopting the cloud-based infrastructure model leads to 93 percent higher energy efficiency and 98 percent lower carbon emissions compared to traditional on-premise deployments—and Flowe’s experience confirms this analysis.
Marco Segato explains: “By running Temenos on the cloud, we have been able to avoid emissions amounting to 87 metric tons of CO2 in 2022 alone. The cloud model is the most effective way for us for reduce our CO2 emissions, and has enabled us to achieve carbon neutral status.”
Thanks to its work with Temenos, Microsoft and other partners, Flowe has been gained certification from nonprofit organization B Corp—acknowledging the bank has reached the highest ESG standards. Flowe has also received several high-profile industry awards, including “Best Original & Adoptable Concept – Innovative API / Open Banking” at the IBS Intelligence Global FinTech Innovation Awards 2020.
“We have shown that banking and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, and we want to take this model as far as possible. We see sustainability as a journey rather than a final goal, and we will continue to work hard to improve our impact on the planet. Our partnership with Temenos has been vital to how far we have come; we would never have achieved our success without Temenos and Microsoft Azure.”Marco Segato, Head of Augmented Intelligence at Flowe