Carbon Offsetting in Monzo 🏭

We are in a climate emergency and there are a lot of people who want to do things about it. The problem is, offsetting carbon is a pain. It’s not simple and it’s doesn’t seem like there are many reputable brands that do it.

If Monzo gave us the ability to put aside some proportion of our salary each month to offset, perhaps link up with a company that does that (and also provides stats), it would solve the two problems that exist already:

  1. Make it simple - show stats, make the user feel good, provide new badges in the app like a green/tree-based logo.
  2. Make it feel reputable - Monzo choosing a company to offset would be using their powerful brand to bring it into the mainstream.

From a Monzo perspective, it’s incredibly aligned to the brand, would create strong positive emotions towards the bank and be a huge marketing point. Some revenue could be made from it (but because of what it is, it should be a small fee)

Most importantly, it starts to create change and help our planet and future generations.

Yes, and yes, I could not upvote this idea more!

  1. Helping users to see their purchase impacts on carbon emission by showing stats and quantifying the impact in a users purchase would be a powerful tool. It could help users choose more sustainable behaviors ie being able to see the carbon impact of a flight ticket purchase compared with a train ticket purchase. The Doconomy is a great example to look at, Dezeen released a super useful article on them, totally worth checking out!
  2. Offsetting is very important too, it’s one thing to see the impacts of your purchase, amend behaviour based on it and another thing to have easy access to offsetting the unavoidable carbon emissions in our lives.
  3. ‘Unavoidable carbon emissions’ is an important term to consider as this is not about blaming or shaming users on their impacts but rather helping them to reduce and balance. Some carbon emissions are simply unavoidable and that is where offsetting comes into play.
    This company, Chooose, is approaching carbon offset in a very interesting and user-friendly way. They select CO2 reducing projects to invest in that are verified by reputable and robust institutions such as Veritas, BNV GL and the United Nations.
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Why don’t you just donate a proportion of your salary each month via standing order or direct debit in the same way that people to donate to a charity each month? Why do Monzo need to be involved?

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Thank you Chloe, to add to what you’ve said, I’ve found: https://compensate.com/ and https://projectwren.com/ for offsetting

I’ve been looking for more info. One of the problems is ‘effective offsets’. For example planting trees are carbon sinks, but if the trees are going to be planted for 20 years and then cut down, you’re effectively being conned for the construction of a commercial enterprise.

One of the most productive sources I believe would be to help the construction of renewable energy projects but without feeling ripped off. i.e. A for profit comes in and builds the renewable energy sources (That’s fine), but then doesn’t reduce their margin and takes all the donations to increase profits (not good). It’s a complex issue. Trust is very important in it and why someone like Monzo would be able to help a lot.

Some of the worthwhile projects would be:

  • Renewable energy investment
  • Carbon capture science
  • Long term carbon sinks
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Monzo don’t need to be involved, but involving Monzo would reach a much larger audience whilst helping their brand. Also, as mentioned, it’s not mainstream at the moment so there’s an issue of trust.

It may help their brand yes - but I think @lpoolrob was saying why don’t you just do it anyway?

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I will be doing so.

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Great, make sure it comes out as a direct debit so you can use a Bill Pot for the payment.

I eventually (at least for now) have gone with atmosfair.de, which helps developing countries skip past fossil fuels to renewable energy.

But it’s taken me a lot of research to find something, a painful process that shows how hard it is and something that Monzo could make a lot easier.

I’d already spoken to my wife about getting renewable energy on our house when we move out of our rental. Also thinking about ways to invest in companies that are helping and going electric for our next car purchase.

Still, it doesn’t really feel enough. I’m one person. Monzo could help get this in front of millions.

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Hi all,
I have been considering something similar, see my Tweet of 2nd September


I have since been working on a Webhook using the Monzo developer API so that every time I make a purchase, a server program is run that looks up the merchant’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) score and keeps a cumulative tab on my own notional ESG score.
More detail and a flow chart here:
https://rockstonedata.co.uk/blog.html

tagline - ‘Money: from means of exchange to means of change’ :slight_smile:

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What happens if you need a flight? You would just use another card.

Absolutely yes - this is very much a ‘thought experiment’ and hence riddled with holes.
But still think it’s worth starting a discussion…

Yes, please. I would feel all the more better about opening a savings account here and continuing to support Monzo if they were to commit to making the climate emergency at the centre of new developments and publicly pledge to not work with any fossil fuel-benefiting investments.

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If it was pushed at me more than once, I would move away from monzo.

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Don’t really agree with this - but I see where you’re coming from. I have too many family overseas where I can’t possibly not fly.

I totally agree with this and would encourage Monzo to work on projects to help us to do what’s right for the planet:

  • offsetting carbon emissions based on our transactions (using estimated averages looking a the type of merchants if detailed transactions are unknown)
  • superannuation funds that are not financing carbon emitting companies like coal mines etc
  • saving accounts / investment funds that are also not impacting the planet (without ripping you off or offering you the lowest possible returns)
  • energy suppliers that are green
  • other necessary suppliers that are green

The way we spend our money has a huge impact on the planet. Monzo being at the core of our financial lives and becoming a marketplace could help us in doing what’s right for the planet. The idea is to give us the option to be as green as possible for those that want to make that choice.

Thank you

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This would be a nice and easy option within a transaction (or even in the monthly summary about your spendings - to have a option to offset all/partial) without being too intrusive of the app itself.

Pretty sure the companies that are offered at the moment in energy switching are “green” suppliers - or at least they have green options

This is really cool Nick, is the ESG API connected to yahoo finance or somewhere? Read your blog, good analysis. I think the best way to analyse the item you bought was reaching your desired ESG goals, would be to combine it all with flux (https://www.tryflux.com/). Unfortunately there’s no real big list of the barcodes for all products, except for maybe the major ones, so it would be very hard to do. But at the card merchant level, that would definitely work.

This is something you can do yourself by putting money aside in a separate pot. Monzo really doesn’t have to be involved in this.

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This isn’t really monzos area. There are banks that are aligned with more ethical and environmental goals which if you’re looking for a bank that does those things that’s where you should go.

For putting your own money into this stuff your better doing a salary sacrifice as you can do this pre tax and more money can be put to better use.

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