Individual carbon emissions

Hi there,

I was just wondering what the appetite would be to help individuals understand their impact on the climate based on their spending? Monzo could have factors tied to spend so users get a better idea as to their carbon footprint from purchased goods and materials per transaction. They would be high level factors for each activity eg Tube, taxi, grocery shopping, coffee etc. Similar to the monthly budget, you could see your monthly impact on the climate and potentially set targets.

I for one would love this to be a feature of Monzo. Happy to discuss further if there is any interest.


I don’t see how Monzo could calculate this with any degree of accuracy. How would Monzo know what carbon impact I’ve had based on my spend in Tesco? They don’t see it itemised? How do they know if the coffee I’ve purchased comes in an recycled cup or where the beans originated from?

Either way, I think they need to focus on improving the current merchant data issues rather than add more to it. Of which is something they sadly say isn’t important in the grand scheme of things.


Not interested at all. I want my bank to concentrate on providing a financial service.


No - they are a bank and should focus on that until profitable. I don’t believe this would help toward profit.


As @Ordog said, Monzo doesn’t know what is being purchased, so any ‘score’ would be irrelevant. Especially so for those who don’t put all their spending through Monzo.


I don’t see this being useful in any form given the incredible variations that would be required to be considered to make something like this workable.

Even high level factors would be hard to figure out. My use of Tesco will be different from yours, purely based on geography. After that, WHAT I buy in Tesco Monzo won’t know so how would it rate my purchase?

Coffee - based on what? The location of the coffee shop, or the sustainability of the coffee I chose (they have 8 varieties, all from different companies after all).

Tube - (presuming I visit London, will it factor my previous travel in too?) - which line is the worst for carbon emissions? which line is best? how long did I spend on which line and, from the ticket value (which is all monzo can see) how will the app even know which line I was on?

Sorry, whilst its a laudable idea, I can’t see it ever being built by a bank, let alone one that still has to attain profit.


This is something I omitted from my post, and is worth repeating. There probably are things a bank could do to encourage behavioural change. The question is, should they, and if so, how should they.

Also, sorry if I contributed to what might appear to a bit of a pile on. The forum is both at its best and worst when people put forward their novel ideas.

Edit: I just noticed you didn’t get a ‘Welcome to the forum.’


Good point!

Hi @JoeyDJ welcome to the forum! I do like the principle of this idea, I think it would help raise awareness, even at a high level, but I don’t think Monzo is the best place for it. But please keep the ideas coming, it’s always good to see how other people think about these things!

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Hi Ordog,

I would agree its not an exact carbon footprint, but I was just trying to think of a way to give some sort of high level impact overview based on spend. DEFRA in the UK do provide factors to materials based on weight, so it could be converted into spend but this would be on the total spend at Tesco and not per individual item.


thanks, after doing some further research it looks like there is already a start-up bank doing this anyway.

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Forgot my hello too :smiley: :wave: and thank you for the follow up. I’m still not sure how it would all work but you never know, I guess anything is possible :slight_smile:

Ohhhh, interesting! Genuinely intrigued as to how that works, ta for the link.

App only available in Finland it seems, and my Finnish is non-existent so hard to get much from the website but one to watch.

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

That’s a super interesting concept - I wonder how they make any sort of useful calculation?

Like spenidng £200 on a train last minute vs £50 in advance on the same route - unless the vendor is passing on meta data, will always be super vague no?

My one big worry with initiatives like this. is how much they can push the burden of ‘being better’ onto the end consumer, (rather than Industry) and I think often things can get greenwashed - like how The Straw is the current Big Evil.

From reading a bit on Doconomy’s website, they use something called the “Aland Index” - which seems to be a combination of “merchant category” average emissions data, plus the value of the spend.

So, User A spending £100 on an entirely locally sourced plant based shop (lets say at Whole Foods) will get the same Carbon Index as a user spending £100 entirely high-carbon production foods and products from the budget range in a supermarket (theoretically).

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On the wider need for change, whilst it’s good and right that all of us are taking what steps we can, fundamentally we need government level change/corporation change to make the real impact.

Part of me applauds any incentive that will help you and I to ‘be better’ but part of me knows it’s not really going to move the needle.