Across the globe, we are seeing cleaner air, clearer water and flourishing of wildlife as a result of COVID-19 lockdown, but how long will this effect last?
During the 2008 financial crisis, worldwide CO2 emissions dropped too. But by the end of 2010, annual emissions were greater than they had ever been.
As economies slowly recover and people return to the new normal, the choices we make now can shape the environment for decades to come. Can fintech play a role to help people live more sustainably?
Winning hearts and minds
While most people we spoke to are concerned about climate change, they are reluctant to change their routines, citing time, money or effort.
When it comes down to it, people’s habits are hard to break. They are only seeking the types of changes that are easy and convenient to do.
By analysing people’s spending habits, we can suggest changes that fit right in with their routines, help them save money while being greener.
One of the biggest misconceptions about sustainable lifestyles is that they cost more. In reality, greener choices can actually be cheaper from what we eat to how we buy.
We took a look at how this marriage of fintech and sustainability can have an impact across five different stages of user experiences:
“We already have all the facts and solutions…
All we have to do is wake up and change”
‘I have enough to be worried about every day from family to money, l just want my life to get easier without having to think about climate change too.’
With open banking, we can aggregate all of the users’ financial data, making it simpler for them to manage everything in one place. The more data we can aggregate, the more eco insights we can share.
Stress resulting from financial challenges is often chronic, affecting 26% of people most of the time. This leads to poorer decision making and prevents them from thinking of the bigger picture.
‘I am very concerned about sustainability but I never have the time to learn more. It would help to know what I can do in my day to day.’
With all their bills and spending data in one place, we can use their financial behaviours to inform them of their environmental impact. This can motivate them to make greener choices and spend smarter.
“The simple act of placing data in front of people changes their behaviour. Data makes people smarter and inspires them to make small changes to save money.”
Andrew Winston, author of the Big Pivot
‘I have my own routine and any changes I make will have to be a part of it or else I don’t see myself doing anything differently.’
By pulling data from their transactions and online groceries, we can recommend sustainable choices that fit right in with their lifestyles, showing potential savings in both money and carbon footprint.
“Our choices in consumption are often habitual behaviours but the consequences of each choice are hard to see. So sustainable consumption may not seem personally relevant”
‘I never even think about what else I could do with my money. I just put any leftover into my savings account.’
Users can track how much less they are spending and see their progress. They can choose to put the money saved toward their goals or we can encourage them to invest sustainably, or even donate to a worthy cause.
Green investing is not just about doing good. It can be profitable for investors as well. For example, Invesco Solar ETF grew 51% in one year, making it one of the best performing funds of 2019.
‘I am just one person, I am not really sure how much impact I am making by going through all these efforts.’
We can also make their collective efforts visible. Users can track their carbon emission savings, see their friends’ progress and the total impact everyone is making together.
More and more people have come to believe that collective impact represents a fundamentally different, more disciplined, and higher performing approach to achieving large-scale social impact
Financial technology is one of the cornerstones of everyone’s lives. How we leverage this can be fundamental to how we combat climate change.
Open banking and progressive regulation like PSD2 are enabling companies to share financial data with each other like never before. So the key questions are what can we do with this data and how we can use it for the better.
With the upcoming recession, banks and fintech providers can play a key role in not only helping customers to save their money but potentially helping to save the planet as well.
Interested in learning more about this project? Say Hello!
Narut Byrne, Elohina Guevara, Ayano Yamomoto, Donal Martin and Mark Fallon
1. Consequences of COVID-19 lockdown
2. Recession does not lower emission overall
3. Build a low carbon future post COVID-19
4. People want to learn how to live more sustainably
5. Why habits are so hard to break
6. Being a vegetarian is cheaper than eating meat
7. From fast fashion to sustainable wardrobe
8. Open banking opens greater value
9. Stress from financial pressure
10. Stress has an impact on financial decisions
11. Five ways to use green data to make money
12. The Big Pivot summary
13. UNEP’s report of sustainable consumption
14. Solar is back with a Invesco Solar ETF
15. Channeling change: Making collective impact work
16. What is PSD2?