In a remarkable demonstration of academic excellence meeting real-world application, the 2023 MPhil in Financial Technology (FinTech) class has developed EcoChain, a blockchain-enabled Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) compliance tracking platform. This initiative represents a significant stride in sustainable finance, aligning closely with industry practices and addressing the pressing need for authentic, standardised ESG reporting.
Divided into product and developer teams, the class simulated a professional environment, fostering collaboration and innovation. The project was spearheaded by an executive team of CEO Gregory Andrews, COO Adam Mosam, and CTO Ndakondja Shilenga.
Over a six-week period, the class adhered to a rigorous timeline, incorporating agile methodologies. The project was divided into three two-week sprints, allowing for dynamic adjustment and continuous improvement. Weekly check-ins with lecturers and industry experts, including Digital Transformation and Blockchain Manager Merryl Ford from CSIR and Management Consultant Mutale Mwila from Aspect Advisory, provided invaluable insights.
EcoChain, built using Vue.JS, Flask, and the Algorand blockchain SDK and deployed on Azure, showcases the class's technical capability. The platform integrates the World Economic Forum’s 21 core stakeholder capitalism metrics, focusing on people, planet, prosperity, and governance. It provides immutable certification and automated reporting, providing a transparent source for firm-reported ESG data.
The culmination of this effort was a demo day, where CEO Gregory Andrews showcased the platform. The presentation highlighted the project's achievements and teamwork. Going forward, the class plans to deepen its comparison with alternative platforms, explore operational strategies, and assess regulatory environments.
EcoChain is more than a class project; it's a testament to the ability of future leaders in FinTech to blend industry experience with academic rigour, paving the way for innovative solutions in sustainable finance.