Official visit by the President of Iceland to Creditinfo in Georgia

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the President of Iceland, recently completed an official visit to Georgia, where he visited, among other things, the office of Creditinfo in Georgia.

The visit was intended to strengthen the relationship between Iceland and Georgia, among other things through increased cooperation in the field of climate issues and green solutions. The president was accompanied by Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate, Nótt Thorberg, director of Grænvang, and a delegation of representatives from the business community, among whom was Hrefna Ösp Sigfinnsdóttir, managing director of Creditinfo in Iceland.

During the visit, Alexander Gomiashvili, Managing Director of Creditinfo in Georgia, welcomed the group and talked about Creditinfo’s activities in Georgia together with Hrefna Ösp, who educated those present about Creditinfo’s activities internationally.

Creditinfo Group has operations in over 30 countries around the world and over 400 employees.

You can read more about the visit of the President of Iceland here.

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland together with Alexander Gomiashvili, Managing Director of Creditinfo in Georgia 
Alexander Gomiashvili, Managing Director of Creditinfo in Georgia addresses the delegation of the President of Iceland.

For more information, visit www.creditinfo.com

 

Creditinfo designated “High Overall Maturity Score” ESG rating by Anthesis

At Creditinfo, we recognize the importance of sustainable business practices. Our commitment to this is reflected in our sustainability policy, which outlines our sustainability focus areas and how we wish to engage them.
 
To better understand where we‘re at and how we can get closer to achieving these goals, we‘ve worked with Sustainability Consultancy Service, Anthesis, on our ESG Maturity Assessment. We‘re proud to announce that we‘ve achieved a High Overall Maturity Score – the most advanced maturity rating that Anthesis designates.
 
As a leading provider of credit information and risk management solutions operating in more than 30 countries, we are committed to improving access to finance for individuals and businesses and want to promote sustainable practices in everything we do. It‘s great to see that our hard work is paying off, and we will continue to make improvements to improve our ESG performance.“ says Paul Randall, CEO of Creditinfo Group.
For more information on our sustainability policy visit –  https://creditinfo.com/about-us/sustainability/

ESG and the Banking Industry: Why Sustainability Matters

As the world grapples with environmental and social challenges such as climate change, social inequality, and governance failures, the importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations has never been more apparent. For banks, ESG is becoming an increasingly important aspect of doing business, as it can help to manage risks, enhance reputation, meet regulatory requirements, drive innovation and increase access to capital. In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these points in more detail.

  1. Risk management: ESG risks are significant and multifaceted, ranging from physical risks such as climate change-related natural disasters to transition risks stemming from legal and policy risks from greenhouse gas emissions and governance or social issues such as human rights abuses. By integrating ESG considerations into their risk management frameworks, banks can better anticipate and manage these risks, which can have a positive impact on their financial performance. For example, banks that fail to properly assess and manage climate-related risks could face stranded assets or lawsuits, which could impact their bottom line. Regulatory frameworks in Europe have taken note of this and the European Banking Authority now requires banks to disclose multiple data-points regarding ESG risks in their risk reports (Pillar III).
  2. Reputation: ESG is increasingly important to customers, investors, and other stakeholders who want to see banks acting as responsible corporate citizens. Banks that take ESG seriously and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility are more likely to attract and retain customers, as well as to access funding from ESG-focused investors. For example, a bank that invests in renewable energy projects or supports social programs in its local community is likely to be viewed more favorably than a bank that does not prioritize ESG. Mismanaging ESG factors to increase reputation may have negative effects, which became evident in some high-profile cases in 2022, both in the EU and US.
  3. Regulatory pressure: Regulators around the world are increasingly focusing on ESG issues and requiring banks to integrate these considerations into their business practices. For example, the European Union has introduced regulations such as the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Taxonomy Regulation, which require banks to disclose ESG-related information and align their investments with environmental objectives. Banks that fail to comply with these regulations could face fines or other penalties, which could impact their financial performance, reputation, and limit access to capital.
  4. Innovation: Banks that prioritize ESG are more likely to drive innovation and develop new products and services that address environmental and social challenges. By supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy and promoting social inclusion, banks can help to create a more sustainable and equitable future. For example, a bank that issues green bonds or sustainable investment products can help to finance renewable energy projects or other environmentally beneficial initiatives, potentially at better rates. Similarly, a bank that offers financial services to underserved communities can help to promote financial inclusion and social equality.
  5. Green bond issuance offers several benefits for banks, such as accessing a growing pool of socially responsible investors, improving their reputation as sustainable financial institutions, and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. The growth of the green bond market has been impressive, with a record-high issuance of $269.5 billion in 2021, up 4.6% from 2020. The cumulative issuance from 2007 to 2021 surpassed $1.5 trillion, with the US, China, and France being the largest issuers. The increase in green bond issuance is driven by investor demand and regulatory measures promoting sustainable finance.

In conclusion, ESG considerations are becoming increasingly important to the banking industry to manage risk, enhance reputation, meet regulatory requirements, and drive innovation. Banks that prioritize ESG are likely to be better positioned for long-term success, as they can help to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all stakeholders. As individuals, we can also play a role in promoting ESG considerations by supporting banks and financial institutions that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility. By working together, we can help to build a more resilient and sustainable global economy.

This may be one of the most important feature of ESG in banking, where the green bond space has grown exponentially over the last years.

www.creditinfo.com

By Gary Brown

Head of Commercial Development – Creditinfo Group.

“Vera”, Creditinfo’s ESG platform, now available for customers in Iceland

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are increasingly becoming a key consideration for investors, stakeholders, and companies. These factors help measure the sustainability and societal impact of a business, and ESG data is crucial for decision-making in the investment and corporate world. However, the availability, quality, and accessibility of ESG data have been major challenges, making it difficult to obtain accurate and reliable insights. This is increasingly becoming a problem for small and medium sized businesses that do not have the resources available to access and produce accurate and reliable ESG data.  

To address this growing need for ESG data services Creditinfo Iceland recently launched Vera, a new ESG data platform, for customers in Iceland. With Vera companies can access data about their customers and/or suppliers in an accessible way. The platform contains diverse sustainability information for all active companies in Iceland including  data directly reported by companies as well as external sources such as media coverage, judicial information, and supply chain operations. Companies can easily update their own sustainability information through MyCreditinfo to ensure an accurate portrayal of information such as emissions, ESG ratings, and other relevant data.  

What are the features Vera has to offer? 


 

  • Who can update sustainability information? 

One of Vera characteristics is that much the data can be updated to increase accuracy. If a company has a dedicated in-house sustainability officer, this person can be given access to Vera to update its info. This is done through MyCreditinfo where anyone inside the company with edit access can forward the access to a relevant employee. The sustainability officer can then provide the needed input.  

  • Contact person 

Sometimes it is difficult to reach the relevant person within companies regarding sustainability. ​This can happen during supplier assessments or during other processes where sustainability data is needed. It can also be time consuming to figure out who is responsible for this subject within companies. Vera helps with this process by offering companies to clarify who is the responsible person for sustainability related matters.​ This makes all communications easier and data flow quicker. 

  • Greenhouse gas emissions 

Most companies are accountable for greenhouse gas emissions, either directly or indirectly. Some companies know how much is emitted and where. Vera can estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from company operations if she knows the industry companies operate in and their revenue. This data must be in place in order for Vera to run its calculations.​ If companies know however their emissions, they can update their profile to provide better information to the market. 

  • Emission intensity 

Absolute greenhouse gas emissions tell a certain story regarding company operations.​ However, companies can emit the same amount of greenhouse gases while their size may differ. So understanding how much is emitted per revenue provides a better understanding of the sector. Emission intensity of the sector is therefore also a very relevant metric.​ Vera provides its users with an overview of the carbon intensity of the sector companies operate in. Sector emission intensity can initiate an interesting conversation between a lender/investor and the company where the company may want to demonstrate a better performance than the sector as a whole.​ Vera provides the sector carbon intensity on a scale which is easy to read and understand. 

  • Sustainability risks and opportunities 

Sustainability risks vary between sectors. Material sustainability factors are those who may have financial implications on companies if mismanaged. Sustainability accounting standards board (SASB) which is now a part of the IFRS has defined which sustainability factors are material within sectors and why.​ Such an overview is important for companies in order to manage material factors instead of using resources to provide data on non-material factors.   

Vera uses data from SASB to provide its users with an overview of material factors for individual companies and if the factors are considered climate risks. If a sustainability risk is classified as climate risk, Vera indicates the type of climate risk. This can be physical or transitional.​ Physical risks appear for example through extreme weather, ocean acidification etc. Transition risks appear through policy and legal risks. Vera provides an understanding regarding which sustainability risks companies are exposed to in a convenient manner.  

  • Sustainability in the value chain 

Using public data it is possible to map out the international supply chain of sectors. Vera provides such overview but is clear regarding the pitfalls of the data as the sector does not represent individual companies. Companies can therefore update their supply chain data. By updating the data in Vera, companies gain a deeper insight into various sustainability related matter in their value chain.  

Users of Vera can click on the value chain countries and redirect to the UN SDG website where even more detailed data is provided.​ In this way, the users of Vera and the reporting companies get a much better overview of the possible risk factors in the supply chain.​ 

  • Sustainability media information 

Creditinfo maintains a media monitoring service in many of its markets​. Using the data from Creditinfo, it is possible to monitor ESG related news articles involving individual companies.​ The ESG media monitor only monitors ESG related articles. Vera therefore utilizes the media quite effectively as a watchdog.​ Vera also provides ESG related media coverage regarding companies within the same sector. ​ 

  • Sustainability media information in the supply chain 

Vera understands which countries the sector mostly does business with.​ Using this data, Vera can monitor ESG related matters in the countries the company mostly does business with.​ If a company provides better data regarding its value chain, they have the possibility to understand better on a macro level the operating conditions in those countries. ​Such data can be used for decision making and supplier assessments.​ 

  • Sustainability documents 

Companies often publish reports and documents related to sustainability. This data is often dispersed around their website and is time consuming to maintain in a single place. Companies may also have various certifications in place which they may want to put forward.​ Such reports can be uploaded to Vera, which makes their access easier.​ If a company does not upload its reports to Vera, Creditinfo staff manually gathers the data and uploads to Vera. 

  • Court cases 

Vera provides an overview of court cases the company appears in for all court levels. It is possible to see the case abstract only or navigate to the official court document online. Vera also shows court cases for parent companies and subsidiaries. The ratio of ownership has to be 10% or more in both directions for Vera to show the cases. Vera therefore provides a better insight into related cases than the courts themselves.  

  • Diversity information 

Diversity in management and staff is an important component of successful companies. Studies have shown that gender diversity in staff has a positive impact on companies. Vera offers information about gender ratios for employees, board members and executives for a company. This information can be updated via MyCreditinfo.  

 For more information visit www.creditinfo.com

 

Creditinfo launches ESG Data Platform

Reykjavík / London, 20th October 2022 – Creditinfo Group, the leading global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, has today announced the launch of VERA, a new environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data platform. The pioneering platform will provide financial services with a standardised overview of their ESG performance, helping them comply with ESG regulation, and will also create a way for other organisations to easily provide sustainability data to the financial sector.

VERA is a centralised platform that congregates information from a range of sources, including data directly reported by companies as well as external sources such as media coverage, judicial information, and supply chain operations. The information is then automatically standardised to allow organisations across financial services to obtain a holistic overview of ESG factors and performance, and easily establish how best to comply with regulation.

Initially being rolled out in Iceland, with other regions to follow globally, the platform can also be used by non-financial corporations when conducting supplier assessments to determine the ESG performance of their supply chains, and to provide sustainability data in a standardised way to the financial sector, helping to attract investment.

Reynir Smári Atlason, Director of sustainability at Creditinfo said: “Providing ESG information to financial services strengthens the presence and engagement of financial institutions – especially in markets where sustainability data is generally limited. It’s not only an ethical decision but a practical one – various markets don’t have the regulations in place to hold companies to account, yet ESG data is needed if they’re going to attract investment through sustainable financing. We’re really proud of how this platform levels the playing field and makes this information accessible and digestible.”

The VERA platform comes on the heels of Creditinfo’s own sustainability policy as the next step in its overall ESG strategy. Creditinfo’s aim to facilitate better decision making in financial services and enable greater access to finance for underserved SMEs, companies and individuals without credit ratings means it plays a vital role in social sustainability globally, and transparency in its environmental and social dealings across its regions must be a fundamental part of this.The next step will see the company publish its inaugural sustainability report evaluating performance areas against its sustainability policy in 2023.

Paul Randall, CEO at Creditinfo said: “Our ESG data platform and sustainability policy are just the first steps in understanding and addressing our wider external impact and helping others to do the same. Not only do we need to make sure we comply with regulation in this area, but the responsibility also lies with individual companies to be proactive when it comes to innovating in a sustainable and responsible way. We’re ready to lead by example here and I’m very excited by our ESG data platform and sustainability policy to ensure Creditinfo and other financial services are on track and compliant with regulation.”

Creditinfo’s sustainability policy can be found in full here.

ENDS

About Creditinfo

Established in 1997 and headquartered in London, UK, Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. As one of the fastest-growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance, through intelligent information, software and decision analytics solutions. With more than 30 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the most considerable global presence in this field of credit risk management, with a significantly greater footprint than competitors. For decades it has provided business information, risk management and credit bureau solutions to some of the largest, lenders, governments and central banks globally to increase financial inclusion and generate economic growth by allowing credit access for SMEs and individuals. For more information, please visit www.creditinfo.com

Hrefna Ösp appointed new CEO of Creditinfo Iceland

Press Release

LONDON, UK, 23rd September, 2021

Hrefna Ösp Sigfinnsdóttir has been appointed as the new CEO of Creditinfo Iceland. She previously held the position of Managing Director of Asset Management and Brokerage at Landsbankinn. She has over 27 years of experience in the finance industry and will bring her wealth of knowledge and expertise to Creditinfo Iceland and the company at large.

‘We warmly welcome Hrefna Ösp to work and we are very happy to have her join us. Hrefna has extensive experience and a clear vision of the functioning of financial markets, which will be a major driver  in moving Creditinfo’s journey forward. Hrefna joins a team of highly motivated staff who are also excited to have her on board’ says Paul Randall, CEO of Creditinfo Group.

“I am especially excited to join Creditinfo. I have followed the company since its establishment and have been a loyal customer. I know that Creditinfo has a very strong team that provides excellent service with powerful solutions. It is exciting to become part of an international ecosystem such as Creditinfo Group which is widespread throughout four continents, I foresee many growth opportunities for me as a professional and Creditinfo Iceland as a team. I am especially keen to further develop and provide solutions the market needs, such as open banking and increased demand for knowledge of customers and the origin of capital” says Hrefna Ösp.

Hrefna holds a Degree in Business Administration from the University of Iceland and a certification exam in securities trading.
She resigned from Landsbankinn this autumn after having been there since 2010. Before that, she worked as a fund manager at Arev Securities Company from 2007. She also worked as the Director of the Listing Division and as an expert on the same at the Iceland Stock Exchange from 1998-2006. Hrefna previously worked as the Director of Personal Services at Fjárvangur and was also an employee of the Central Bank of Iceland’s Monetary Policy Department.

Hrefna has also served on the boards of several companies both in Iceland and abroad and is also one of the founding members of IcelandSIF, an independent forum for discussion and education on responsible and sustainable investments.

The Creditinfo Team welcomes Hrefna and is looking forward to start collaborating with her.

PR contacts:

Caterina Ponsicchi,

Marketing Director,

Email: caterina.ponsicchi@creditinfo.com

Better information for customer due diligence in Iceland

According to the International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Profileration, Financial institutions are required to conduct due diligence on their customers. They have a special obligation to verify customer information. Financial institutions need to examine in detail the relationship between individuals and companies and whether the individuals in question are politically exposed.

The process of obtaining this information can be complex and time consuming, but with the help of Creditinfo it is possible to significantly ease the process so that employees can focus on more demanding tasks. Creditinfo in Iceland have a number of solutions available that can assist financial institutions with due diligence:

Company registration information

According to the guidelines from the Icelandic government against money laundering and terrorist financing, it must be verified that the individuals acting on behalf of a company are specifically authorized to act on its behalf. Using Creditinfo, it is possible to get a detailed overview of the managers of the company, its purpose, registered capital and information about board members.

Beneficial Owners

When conducting due diligence, financial institutions need to investigate the beneficial ownership of their customers. It is common for individuals to own companies through other companies. Such relationships can be complex and it can be difficult to find out exactly who the individual owners are and their individual stake at the company in question. Creditinfo can assist in obtaining detailed information about the individuals who actually own companies and how large their share is. The beneficial ownership report also contains information from the register of limited companies. Now there is also information about the beneficial owners according to the Icelandic Revenue and Customs office in the Beneficial owners report.

Monitoring

It is not sufficient to examine customer information only at the start of a business relationship. It is equally important to maintain regular monitoring of customers and their relationships. With the help of Creditinfo it is possible to monitor changes that take place in information about specific companies, e.g. submission of new annual reports, changes in the company’s board of directors or changes in ownership. Such information is necessary to keep a close eye on your customers. Now it is possible to monitor changes in beneficial owners who own more than 25% of the company in question.

Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) – Coming Soon!

Creditinfo has begun preparing a database that will include information on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to assist companies in meeting anti-money laundering requirements. In processing the information, Creditinfo consults with the Data Protection Authority in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act. Individuals who will be registered in the database will have good access to the information and will be notified of its processing.

Find out about the subscription options available at Creditinfo Iceland. Visit www.creditinfo.is for more information about our solutions and services.

This article was originally posted in Icelandic on the Creditinfo Iceland blog.

Icelandic Media in 2020 – Creditinfo Iceland

2020 was, to say the least, an eventful year. The highlight of the year was the COVID-19 epidemic, which revolutionized the entire world this year and continues to affect 2021. The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019 and the first confirmed death related to the virus was confirmed on January 11th 2020. News of the virus began to increase in Iceland as the number of infections outside China increased.

Specific mentions of the word COVID-19 was not not mentioned until the end of February last year. When the first infection was diagnosed in Iceland on 28 February, Icelandic media coverage of the virus increased significantly and reached a certain peak in mid-March, shortly after the World Health Organization declared that the spread of COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic. After that, the number of news items began to increase significantly, but at its peak, 372 news items were broadcast about COVID-19 on March 20, 2020. A total of 41,492 news items containing the word COVID were broadcast this year.

Institutions and companies in the news in 2020

As in previous years, political parties in Iceland were the institutions that received the most mentions in the Icelandic media in 2020. A total of more than 14,000 news items were broadcast about the Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) in the past year and about 12,000 news items were broadcast about the Left Greens (Vinstri-Grænir). The effect of COVID-19 can be seen when looking at the high-jumpers on the list of the institutions that were most frequently mentioned in the Icelandic media in 2020. The Directorate of Health was in third place this year among the institutions that were most in the news in 2020 but were in 37th place in 2019. The National Police Commissioners Office was in fourth place in 2020 but was in 45th place in 2019 with a total of over 11,000 news items.

When the list is narrowed down to companies it is clear that one company was particularly popular among the press. A total of 6,000 news items were broadcast about Icelandair this year, followed by Decode Genetics with about 3,100 news items. After them, it was the three commercial banks Íslandsbanki, Landsbankinn and Arion Bank that were most covered in the Icelandic media in 2020.

Would you like further information about media monitoring solutions from Creditinfo Iceland? Please contact us.

 

This article was originally posted in Icelandic on the Creditinfo Iceland blog.