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Space for Finance Workshop: how space technology can support the digitalisation and greening of the financial sector

This one-day workshop organised by the ESA Downstream Gateway brought together stakeholders from the finance and space world discussing the potential of space in supporting the digitalisation and greening of the sector. It covered the transition of the financial sector related technologies and data sets as well as support programmes of ESA.


Topic overview: How Space technology can support the digitalisation and greening of the financial sector


The financial sector is undergoing a rapid transformation as digitalisation is impacting the very nature of traditional financial services and products. As a result, incumbent firms and existing business models are increasingly challenged by new market entrants which are leveraging innovative technologies: real-time data, blockchain and artificial intelligence are paving the way for a new era of how money is being handled on a daily basis and investments being carried out.

At the same time, societies aim at balancing the negative impact of the pandemic and climate-change, directing financial resources into sustainable investments with limited negative external effects or even positive social and environmental outcomes. Green bonds are on the rise as well as the financing of renewable resources and nature-based solutions. The ESG financial ecosystem is evolving together with new methodologies, KPIs and data needs driven by risk management strategies for climate adaption and mitigation. Increasing climate hazards can be a threat for assets as well as financial stability and need to be understood and incorporated in business and portfolio

For more information on the topic, you can read the related article “How space supports the financial sector to foster the transition towards a green and sustainable future“.


Introduction and Panel 1: Policy and Regulation Perspectives


Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, and Donatella Ponziani, Downstream Gateway Officer at ESA opened this workshop illustrating the opportunities that the space sector can offer to the financial ecosystem. The DG presented ESA’s recently published Agenda 2025 where he focussed on the commercialisation of space and the importance of the Downstream Gateway enabling new engagements between the downstream programmes of ESA and emerging business sectors.

The first panel discussed the climate-related risks (physical or transition) and the new policies adopted to support a green, resilient and inclusive development. The role of Earth Observation data was highlighted and how it can inform decision making processes. The concept of “Sustainable Finance” was introduced, with its increasing need of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data.

This panel was moderated by Donatella Ponziani, Downstream Gateway Officer at ESA.


O. Mahul – Practice Manager at The World Bank (WB)’s Crisis and Disaster Risk Finance unit Leveraging Space Technology for Climate Risk Finance
P. Hiebert – Head of Systemic Risk and Financial Institutions Division at European Central Bank Climate related risks and euro area financial stability
C. Jolly – Head of Unit OECD Space Forum at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Sustainable finance and space: the case of greening infrastructure
M. Haahr – Director at Green Digital Finance Alliance Green finance shaped by regulation, accelerated by technology
D. Carlin – Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures program lead for United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Space for Finance
G. Chauvière Le Drian – Head of EIB Group Office in France at the European Investment Bank Space for Finance

Panel 2: Industry and Academia


The second panel highlighted how better measurements and disclosures are critical to challenge climate impacts. There is a strong need for climate information architecture built on high quality, reliable and comparable data, harmonised standards and a global taxonomy. Companies must take into serious consideration their behaviour, as ESG incidents can heavily impact a company in terms of compliance, finance and reputation. Several use cases were illustrated on how space technology can help the financial sector in the credit, payment and insurance processes. The definition of “Spatial Finance” was also presented, as the integration of geospatial data and analysis into financial theory and practice, and how it can change the way climate and environmental risks, opportunities and impacts are measured and managed by financial institutions.

The panel was moderated by Nick Appleyard, Head of Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS) Department at ESA.


F. Natalucci – Deputy Director at International Monetary Fund Space for Finance
P. Aeby – CEO at RepRisk AG RepRisk Spatial Analytics
G. Gonseth – Senior Underwriter Agriculture LATAM, SCOR Use of Space Technology
A. Collomb – Professor of Finance / Director of Département Économie, Finance, Assurance, Banque Department at Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers Connecting the Dots: Linking Space, Finance and Society
T. Foucault – Professor of Finance at HEC Paris Space for Finance
B. Caldecott – Director at Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme & Lombard Odier Associate Professor of Sustainable Finance at the University of Oxford, Director at UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment UK centre for greening finance & investment
F. Dalibard – Global Head of Blockchain Technology & Innovation Group at NATIXIS Live presentation

Panel 3: ESA’s involvements


In the third panel ESA representatives shared past and current projects aimed at showcasing the potential of space and its value to the finance sector. It was discussed how “Green Fintech”, the intersection between sustainable finance and innovation in financial technology, aims at moving resources towards environmentally sustainable projects and develop innovative instruments. Furthermore, it was discussed how space technology, in particular Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), are crucial for the financial sector as it provides accurate measurements of time and synchronisation.

This panel was moderated by Giorgio Solari, Head of NAVISP Element 1 Innovation Office at ESA.


L. del Monte – Head of Industrial Policy and SME Division at ESA Space for Finance
A. Regan – Head Φ-lab Invest Office, and Investing in Industrial Innovation (InCubed) Programme Manager, Earth Observation Future Systems Department European Space Agency at ESA Earth Observation for Finance
Olivier Smeyers – NAVISP PNT Competitiveness at ESA Space for Finance
G. M. de Mercado – Business Applications at ESA Space for Finance




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