By: 23 April 2024

The global paytech company have announced the creation of the “SumUp Forest” in Peru

SumUp doubles down on ESG initiatives for 2024

Global financial technology company SumUp continues its industry leading ESG agenda, today announcing a raft of new actions and pledges as the company also builds on its initiatives from 2023, encouraging other financial companies to play their role in tackling social issues and mitigating climate change.

The move comes not long after SumUp raised €285m to fuel their global expansion.

The SumUp ESG framework is based on: environment, education, and entrepreneurship. SumUp, who were the first major fintech company to sign up to the 1% for the Planet project in 2022, pledging 1% of future net revenues from its SOLO card readers to environmental causes, extended their commitment to environmental initiatives across South and Central America in 2023 through their work with Wilderness International and StoveTeam International. However, today SumUp are also announcing their intention to double down on education and entrepreneurial initiatives with Indian charity Dharma Life, Brazilian charity The Monte Azul Organization and American charity Generation. 

With the U.N Climate Chief recently announcing the global community has just two years left to save the planet, it is more important than ever for companies to accelerate work with societal and environmental impact at-scale. SumUp are proud to announce the extension of both environmental and social measures, designed to address climate change and social issues in ecologically and economically vulnerable areas. 

Environmental initiatives 

SumUp has extended their work with Wilderness International – a non-profit organisation based in Germany, Canada, and Peru, who protects acutely threatened wilderness areas around the world – to create The SumUp Forest. SumUp have sponsored 200,000m2 of protected Peruvian Forest with the aim of preserving valuable habitats and increasing biodiversity. The Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon is considered the most biodiverse region in the world, with 10% of all bird-species of the world being observed in this region and 400 tree species inhabiting a single hectare of the forest.

Continuing their partnership with the same scope from 2022/23, SumUp will be supporting StoveTeam International, a Portland-based charity committed to assisting local entrepreneurs across Central America produce and distribute clean-burning cookstoves, by providing 2,000 families in Central America with safe, fuel-efficient cookstoves. These stoves reduce the risk of lung diseases and save CO2 by burning wood more efficiently – each cookstove saves up to 15 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year, providing local enterprises with a safe and environmentally friendly means of business.

Educational initiatives 

As well as expanding their scope of environmental initiatives, SumUp is committed to promoting education and opportunity.

In 2022 SumUp offered 3-month Java Full Stack development courses to over 120 students across Chile, Brazil and Colombia in partnership with the charity Generation, providing tech education to women and girls, migrants, LGBTQ+, and other underprivileged and vulnerable persons. Across 2023, SumUp can confirm there were 112 program graduates from 3 countries, and that 180 days after graduation, above 83% of the 2023 graduates are now employed. With new 2024 cohorts starting in Brazil, Chile and Colombia, SumUp hopes to emulate the success of this program again this year.

SumUp are expanding their efforts to encourage education in the impoverished communities in Brazil, supporting four cultural, musical, and educational projects led by The Monte Azul Organization, whose aim is making local life more humane, supporting children, young people and women in particular. The Cultural Roots Program has been developing artistic and cultural activities such as concerts, musical performances, theatre exhibitions, dance and visual art presentations for 25 years at Monte Azul Cultural Center. In addition, The Culture Spot programme is designed to promote access to culture for local residents, making the central square of the Monte Azul Favela a public space for community activities targeted at children, young people and their families. The Monte Azul School of Music offers daily violin, viola, cello and choral singing classes for children and teenagers aged 6 to 15 from Favela Monte Azul, Favela Peinha and surrounding areas. Finally, SumUp has also worked with The Monte Azul’s Horizonte Azul branch to support the Regenera Project, which is focused on offering psychological support to students in areas of extreme social vulnerability.

SumUp has expanded their work with Dharma Life, an Indian charity dedicated to poverty alleviation through rural entrepreneurship. SumUp has committed to supporting the “Lighting Up Young Minds Learning” programme that aims to deliver technology-driven education to 10,000 children in India annually. The programme will offer courses on various skills inspired by the World Economic Forum’s 21st Century Skills Framework, including spoken English and coding for children. Additionally, the partnership supports Dharma Life’s Jaya Alliance, aiming to provide a platform for women to realise their potential and integrate them into the workforce. With this partnership, there will be a focus on enabling rural entrepreneurship for 500 women in sectors such technology, AI, coding, market research and others. Through this collaboration, SumUp has also become one of the strategic partners and steward circle members of Dharma Life, helping to safeguard its vision of driving inclusive progress.

SumUp global head of diversity & inclusion and ESG Felizitas Lichtenberg said: “Businesses must continue to champion ESG, supporting the communities and causes that need it the most. As a fintech, it is our social responsibility to give back to communities and help create equal opportunities for those from less fortunate backgrounds. We believe that education is a key driver to reduce poverty and that through the continued support of these projects, SumUp will be able to improve living conditions and create prosperity in areas of social and economic vulnerability. Since being the first fintech to sign up to 1% For The Planet in 2022, we have doubled down on our work with environmental charities, with the mitigation of climate change being a crucial part of our mission. Having seen the effects of these initiatives first hand, be it through meeting people involved in the programs or receiving photos of endangered species spotted in The SumUp Forest, we understand the crucial role ESG plays in making real change, and we are proud to be a standard-bearer in this area.”

Image: Ulrike Langner on Unsplash

Robert Welbourn
Robert Welbourn is an experienced financial writer. He has worked for a number of high street banks and trading platforms. He's also a published author and freelance writer and editor.