NatWest launches real-time CO2 footprint tracker for banking customers

22 Sep 2020

Partnership with fintech company CoGo will give NatWest customers access to an on-the-go carbon emissions calculator informed by their personal spending.

NatWest has announced a slew of green initiatives geared at helping its banking customers measure and mitigate their carbon emissions.

A new partnership with fintech app CoGo will provide the bank’s customers with access to a tracker that calculates their carbon footprint in real time based on their spending habits, while offering curated suggestions for how they can reduce their environmental impact, with the option to offset their emissions.

NatWest also said it would provide customers who take out a personal loan to fund green home improvements with a one-off payment of £100, supported by the Green Homes Grant scheme announced by the government earlier this summer.

And, it has launched a new educational workshop for children dubbed ‘Save our pennies, save our planet’, which is designed to promote the importance of energy efficiency. Aimed at children aged between eight and 12, it sets tasks encouraging childen to think about how they can simultaneously slash both energy costs and use.

It follows recent research undertaken by the bank which found 70 per cent of NatWest customers are concerned about climate change, but were unsure about how to reduce their climate impact.

“At NatWest, we know our customers are as passionate about climate change as we are – but it’s really hard to change what you can’t measure,” said Georgina Bulklely, personal banking chief operating officer. “We are pleased to be working with CoGo to ensure that our customers have access to the best tools so that they can make informed decisions about their spending and the impact that has on the environment.”

It came yesterday as green mortgage provider Ecology Building Society revealed it had secured £3m of investment through an issue of Core Capital Deferred Shares (CCDS).

The ethical lender and deposit taker said the funds would help it invest in innovation, and to grow its sustainable lending business as it gears up for the imminent launch of the government’s Green Home Grants scheme.

“The effects of the climate and ecological crisis continue to be felt both here in the UK and across the globe, and it has never been more relevant and important for ecology to continue to provide a progressive force for positive environmental change,” said Paul Ellis, chief executive of Ecology Building Society. “The additional capital will accelerate our lending, ensuring we’re well placed to support the green recovery.”

The compamy, which boasted more than $198m in assets at the end of 2019, provides green mortgages for energy-efficient buildings and building renovations. Its ‘C-Change’ mortgage discounts also incentivise energy efficiency through mortgage pricing.

Yet despite postive progress in some quarters of the banking sector towards greener financial practices, survey results released yesteday by Scottish Widows indicate the the finance industry still faces an uphill struggle to appeal to customers’ growing appetite for sustainable investment.

The majority of UK pension holders – 68 per cent – are unsure about whether their pensions are green, according to the YouGov survey, which polled more than 5,700 UK adults.

And while two nearly two-thirds of respondents (31 per cent) said it was important to have clearly branded fund options which would allow them to invest only in environmentally and socially responsible companies, more than 85 per cent also said they did not think it would be easy to find out.

“We are very aware of how environmental, social and governance factors – including a company’s exposure to climate change – can pose investment risks, and why responsible investments can be better for customer returns as well as the planet,” said Maria Nazarova-Doyle, head of pension investments at Scottish Widows. “They can also be attractive to savers who may not have considered how their pension is invested. If sustainable funds can encourage more people to engage with their retirement saving, then we need to find more simple and effective ways to bridge the knowledge gap to help people align their saving with their values.”