21 Jan 2022

Tracking the carbon footprint on your spending

From Summer Times, 9:28 am on 21 January 2022

Many people around the world are now considering their personal carbon footprint on a daily basis.

A Wellington-based sustainable data company is helping British bank customers spend in line with their values, with NZ banks to follow soon.

woman on phone with credit card

Photo: Anete / Unsplash

Cogo has partnered with UK bank NatWest and Australia's CommBank to provide their customers real-time data on the environmental impact of their spending choices.

Ben Gleisner from Wellington sustainable company CoGo

 Ben Gleisner Photo: Supplied

Cogo first developed the app to track the carbon footprints of individual consumers, but they've recently pivoted to partnering with banks.

Several New Zealand financial institutions are interested in getting on board and this year at least one bank will start working with Cogo, says founder Ben Gleisner.

Banks are very well placed to help with Cogo's mission of empowering people to spend more consciously as they have lots of information about our spending patterns, he says.

"We want to help people to do their bit and banks offer us millions of potential people to empower."

After getting a Masters degree in Climate Change Economics and working for the NZ government, Gleisner realised that real change needs to come via individual action.

"Traditionally it's always been the government reports on emissions [that people defer to] and they [expect the government to] go and sort it out, but more and more we all want to do our bit."

Cogo helps banks empower their customers to better track their own individual carbon footprints, Gleisner says.

"This technology is helping people to understand a bit more and make some change."

Cogo now has 75 employees and is about to hire 70 more, he says.

"In five years time, 'what's my carbon footprint?' isn't a question people will be asking."