8 in 10 banking customers want to know the carbon impact of their spending


Banks have an opportunity to offer more to customers looking for green solutions

  • Carbon footprint management experts, Cogo, have found that nearly 8 in 10 (75%) of UK mobile banking customers want to know the carbon impact of their spending
  • The research indicates that banks have a *52 million strong retail customer pool interested in green banking features
  • The research highlights that banking rewards with a sustainable focus could be a differentiator for UK banks in a challenging retail banking market
  • One of the key barriers to people accepting help from banks is the lack of transparency about what banks are doing to reduce their own corporate carbon footprints

New research has found that nearly 8 in 10 (75%) UK mobile banking users want to know more about the carbon impact of their spending. The findings indicate that there is an unfulfilled appetite in the UK retail banking market for green banking features and products.

The research, run by carbon footprint management experts Cogo and the Behavioural Insights Team, surveyed 2,007 UK mobile banking users to investigate customer attitudes towards banks encouraging them to reduce their environmental impact.

Cogo infographic

Cogo infographic

Emma Kisby, EMEA CEO for Cogo, says, “Banks are uniquely positioned to positively impact and help to turn around the climate crisis. Offering green banking solutions to customers can make a big difference. Their reach means huge numbers of people could be able to access carbon footprint management features through a provider that they already have day-to-day interactions with.

“As the competitive playing field for big banks evens out, extra benefits that help customers manage their environmental impact can make a big difference. We are only at the beginning of the rise of the conscious consumer. Newer, environmentally astute generations are already opening their first personal and business accounts. Banks offering the green solutions that customers want will be able to access a bigger pool of potential retail banking customers.”

Competitive edge
The research found that 75% of mobile banking users would like to know more about the carbon impact of their spending. What’s more, 48% are specifically in support of their bank helping them to make more pro-environmental purchasing choices. When asked if they wanted to receive carbon spending information from banks, 57% were in favour, therefore presenting a great opportunity for banks to provide this support.

NatWest is a major UK bank that offers carbon footprint management features from Cogo in its mobile banking app. When the partnership launched in July 2021, David Lindberg, CEO, Retail Banking at NatWest said: “Our use of Cogo’s expertise in carbon tracking in the NatWest app is a really important first step in making it easy for everyone to live and spend in a greener way – using the power of their money to influence change.”

The trend towards conscious consumerism is affecting more than just banking products and services. The report found that alongside reducing their individual carbon footprint, customers increasingly want to see their bank taking action to reduce their own environmental impact. The changes that customers most wanted to see from banks are efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations (76%) and investment in businesses with a low environmental impact (73%).

Scaling up solutions
Given consumers’ appetite to understand more about their carbon footprint, it is expected that it will become more commonplace to receive this information through banks. Partnering with start-up solutions means an easier scale up for banks. Effective tools, based on proven technologies and approaches, can be built quickly and appeal to customers who expect more from their banks. To give a clear route to banks wanting to develop carbon footprint tracking features, Cogo has rolled out a financial services partnership model.

Cogo has partnered with NatWest, TSB and most recently, Hungarian bank OTP to help their mobile banking customers measure their impact, reduce their carbon footprint, and offset the rest. By integrating this information, banks can offer customers better money management tools that consider environmental impact.

Through this financial services partnership model, Cogo is on track to give over 3 million retail banking customers access to carbon footprint tracking features in their everyday banking experience by the end of 2022.

The full report of the research findings can be found at cogo.co/whatcustomersneed.

* There are about 53.4 million adults in the UK as of October 2022. 98% of them have a bank account (Mintel) 73 million retail banking customers in the UK (FCA data). So 75% of them would be 52.34.75 million.


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Notes on methodology
The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) ran an online experiment with a sample of 2,007 UK mobile banking users collected over 29 April – 5 May 2022 to investigate customers’ attitudes towards ways banks can encourage them to reduce their environmental impact. The research also tested options for banks’ pro-environmental offers and Cogo’s UX.

About Cogo
Cogo is a carbon footprint management product that helps individuals and businesses to measure, reduce and offset their impact on the climate.

Cogo does this through partnerships with some of the world’s largest banks to integrate leading carbon-tracking functionality into their banking apps via open-banking technology. Cogo uses best-in-class models to provide accurate ways to measure carbon emissions specific to local markets and cutting edge behavioural science techniques to nudge customers to make more sustainable choices.

Cogo currently works with 12 banks, including Commbank (Australia), NatWest (UK) and ING (Netherlands) and currently helps over a million customers around the world track their carbon footprint.

Originally founded in New Zealand in 2016, Cogo now employs over 100 people and operates in 12 countries across Europe and Asia-Pacific, including, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Cogo has raised over US$10million in funding since launch.

To find out more information about Cogo, please visit cogo.co.

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