Rabobank will display the estimated CO2 emissions of their purchases in the bank’s app for customers who wish to do so. The bank hopes that this will lead to customers modifying their buying behavior and making purchases that emit less carbon dioxide. The first thousand customers can do so from today. The bank aims to make the job available to all private sector clients after the summer.
To this end, the bank is working with the financial technology platform Ecolytiq. The bank can see from the customers where the payment was made using the checking account and accordingly, it also estimates the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the purchase. To make the estimates more accurate, clients are asked if they eat a lot of meat and if their homes are well insulated.
“This is very challenging, and therefore also an appreciation,” says Barbara Parsma, Principal of Carbon Rabo Bank. “You can see week by week whether the CO2 emissions from spending are changing and that is very important. You want people to change their behavior because of this vision. Then it is more important to see the change than to see the reason behind the decimal point. The emissions per account.”
Abroad, there are a number of banks that are already showing information to their customers. Credit card companies Mastercard and Visa also participate in startups that make estimates. Mastercard, in cooperation with one of those companies, has issued a credit card that automatically blocks in case of excessive spending with high carbon dioxide emissions.
Rabobank doesn’t want to go that far. “The goal is not at all to point fingers as a banker and act as a mentor,” Parsma says. “We want to give people insight into their own behavior, and if they want to, they can modify their behavior.”
Baarsma thinks it would be better if CO2 emissions were mentioned on products in supermarkets from now on. “Then people can make informed decisions. You want transparency.”
“It’s a good first step for the bank,” says Laurens Sloot, professor of retail entrepreneurship at the University of Groningen. “As a consumer, you don’t know exactly the damage to the products you buy, and you certainly don’t have to pay more for it.” Sloot doesn’t wonder if it should be the bank’s job to provide insight into these kinds of matters.
According to the bank, Rabobank customers can use the tool in the banking app at no additional cost and without obligation, and can choose when to subscribe and unsubscribe.
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