Navigate the EU’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework to Drive Sustainable Growth in BFSI

Three Rackspace Technology executives reveal how to successfully optimize ESG initiatives with sustainable IT solutions for BFSI.

The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework is revolutionizing the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sectors in the European Union (EU).

This is a paradigm shift that marks a significant move toward sustainability and ethical considerations in finance, reflecting a broader societal transformation to address global challenges such as climate change, social inequality and corporate governance malpractices.

The EU leads in implementing regulatory frameworks for sustainability. It has implemented several key regulations to ensure that financial institutions actively participate in the global shift toward sustainable development. These regulations include the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

These measures aim to ensure financial institutions actively participate in the global shift toward sustainable development.


The growing emphasis on ESG

The integration of ESG criteria into financial decision-making processes marks a transformative period for the BFSI sector in the EU. This shift is driven by the recognition of the long-term benefits and the necessity of sustainable practices for risk management, investment performance and regulatory compliance.


Manage risk

By including ESG factors in risk assessment, BFSI firms can identify and mitigate risks that traditional financial analyses might overlook. For instance, environmental criteria consider the impact of climate change, which can pose physical risks to assets and transition risks as economies shift toward sustainable practices. Social criteria are used to evaluate a company's relationships with its workers, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates, as these relationships can affect the company's reputation and, ultimately, its financial performance. Governance criteria, on the other hand, focus on a company's leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls and shareholder rights, which are essential for investor confidence.


Boost investment performance

Studies indicate that ESG-focused funds often outperform their counterparts, suggesting that sustainable investing is not only ethical but also profitable. This has led to increased demand for ESG-aligned investment opportunities, prompting BFSI entities to adopt ESG considerations in their investment processes.


Address compliance requirements

The EU's regulatory landscape mandates BFSI firms to incorporate ESG considerations. The CSRD requires companies to disclose their impact on sustainability issues, enhancing transparency. The SFDR aims to prevent greenwashing by requiring financial market participants to disclose the sustainability of their investment decisions. The EU Taxonomy Regulation establishes a classification system for sustainable activities, aiding investors in identifying genuinely sustainable investments. These regulations ensure that ESG considerations are not optional but integral to BFSI operations in the EU.


Challenges of implementation

While the shift toward ESG presents numerous opportunities, it also introduces several challenges for BFSI firms in terms of data availability, integration into existing processes, regulatory complexity and market readiness.

  • Data availability and quality: The lack of reliable and standardized data on ESG performance is a significant hurdle. Despite efforts by regulations such as the CSRD to improve the quality and quantity of ESG reporting, inconsistencies and gaps in data remain, making it difficult for financial institutions to accurately assess ESG performance.
  • Integration into existing processes: Incorporating ESG criteria into existing investment and risk management processes is complex. It requires new analytical tools, methodologies and substantial investments in training and technology.
  • Regulatory complexity: The EU's ESG regulatory framework, although comprehensive, is complex. Navigating the requirements of the CSRD, SFDR, and EU Taxonomy Regulation can be a challenge demanding significant effort to address compliance.
  • Market readiness: The BFSI sector's readiness for ESG integration varies, with larger institutions typically better equipped than smaller ones. The disparity poses the risk of uneven progress across the sector.


Setting a course toward decarbonization

For BFSI firms looking to integrate ESG principles, decarbonization remains a daunting task. This challenge is twofold. First, firms must reduce the carbon footprint of their own operations, which can be a monumental undertaking for large, multinational corporations with extensive physical infrastructure. Second, they must tackle the even more complex task of decarbonizing their investment and lending portfolios.

As ESG considerations gain prominence, many BFSI firms face significant challenges, including:

  • Outdated data centers that fail to support future requirements
  • Technical debt and legacy infrastructure that hinder efforts to meet decarbonization targets and fulfill reporting obligations
  • Limited control over siloed data with (at best) unclear lineage and inconsistent formats. This lack of data governance hampers comprehensive reporting and impedes the sustainable and efficient AI usage.


While BFSI firms in the EU face ESG integration and decarbonization complexities ahead, they don’t have to go it alone. With the right partner and expertise in data governance, AI, sustainability and security, these organizations can successfully transform their operations to meet the demands of tomorrow.


How Rackspace Technology can help

Our efforts in 2023 were recognized with awards for Social Impact from, the Initiative award for Sustainable IT from ESGBusiness in Singapore, and the North America Sustainability Partner of the Year award from Amazon Web Services (AWS). (Another highlight of our recent achievements is the industry recognition of Srini Koushik, our President of Technology and Sustainability, by

Rackspace Technology® brings this IP and experience to help clients tackle the “process, people and technology” challenges every company faces. Our focused business model of hybrid multicloud, data, AI and security allows us to rapidly transform clients' businesses. We do this through workload-aware migrations to the right cloud, providing scalable platforms to tackle data and AI conundrums, and helping you to keep everything safe and secure. Our solutions embed optimized data center efficiency, energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy sources to drive operations.

Our professional services team collaborates with customers to help them on their sustainability journey. We leverage our own internal insights from the ESG journey, including setting up internal carbon accounting platforms data pipelines and charting pathways to decarbonization by leveraging multicloud solutions.

Connect directly to with our expert, Waheed Mahmood, via email at or on LinkedIn.


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About the Authors

Simon Bennett​

Chief Technical Officer, EMEA​

Simon Bennett​

As Rackspace Technology™ Chief Technical Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions, Simon’s goal is to deliver end value to customers with world-class multicloud solutions and services. He is focused on inspiring and supporting technical leaders to find best-fit solutions, combining a perfect blend of services and capabilities from the Rackspace Technology™ and partner portfolio. Simon enjoys working with customers at all levels to understand their challenges and opportunities to help them to succeed.  ​ Simon’s extensive experience has been gained from working across a broad spectrum of customers in different industries. Before joining Rackspace Technology, he worked at IBM for over 20 years in leadership roles. In his most recent position, he provided technical pre-sales and detailed solution support for strategic deals within technology services. 

Read more about Simon Bennett​
A man smiling for a headshot

VP - Evangelist and Senior Architect

Ben Blanquera

Ben is VP-Evangelist and Senior Architect with Rackspace Technology. He works with enterprises, architecting solutions to enable them to drive business outcomes through thriving in a multicloud world.    He is a 35-year veteran in multiple industries including health care, manufacturing, and technology consulting. Prior to Rackspace, Ben was with Covail, a leading-edge provider of AI/ML and cybersecurity services to Fortune 1000 clients. At Covail, Ben was VP of Delivery and transitioned to VP of Revenue and Client Success.  A recognized technology leader, Ben was named a Premier 100 leader by Computerworld. Outside of work, he loves to travel, ride his bike, and spend time with his wife and four daughters. He is an active organizer in the tech community and curates the Central Ohio CIO forum (150+ CIOs) and founded Techlife Columbus. Ben also serves on the Pitch Advisory Board for South by Southwest and the Editorial Board for CDO Magazine.

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Waheed Mahmood

IT Executive

Waheed Mahmood

Waheed is an IT Executive with 25+ years' experience of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance industry (BFSI) in leadership roles across sales, consulting and delivery.  With a proven track record of successfully delivering value to clients and transforming their business on a global scale by exploiting new ways of working, methods, and technologies to underpin sustainable transformation and business outcomes. In addition, developing capabilities globally for Application Development & Maintenance, Automation and AI.

Read more about Waheed Mahmood