Monzo and the Environment

Been talking to friends about Monzo, and they are interested, but they also want to know what Monzo is doing environmentally?

Obviously, Flux integration is reducing the use of paper, but a fair response is what’s happening in terms of energy used at AWS as the perception is that this is pretty energy intensive, environmental policy in the Moorgate and Cardiff offices, travel policy for staff, and how Monzo is working towards being a carbon neutral company.

Be good to find out more, especially as people see Monzo as ethical, but what’s the green ethics of the business.

2 Likes

This is always the issue for me. These recent environmental protests haven’t had any real impact on anyone actually knowing anything. They don’t share reliable information.

Using AWS allows Monzo to use only the resources they need, to scale up and down as needed and not to waste physical and power resources when not required. It might be energy intensive in that Monzo may use a lot of power for power intensive operations, but its likely the most energy efficient way of doing many things they need.

What exactly are you looking for in your question?

1 Like

Does using Flux actually reduce the use of paper? Every time I have a KFC and pay with Monzo, I still get a paper receipt. Is it different at Eat and other establishments?

4 Likes

We don’t particularly have many headline things but our use of Kubernetes on AWS means that we can get far more out of the resources we use in terms of utilisation than many other banks who may run one thing per system.

In terms of the office, we have pretty great recycling here in the London office, I forget the exact numbers unfortunately. We tend to like to pick suppliers for things such as food who don’t give us excessive single use plastic. The majority of our lighting automatically turn to motion sensors in the evenings so lights are not left on overnight.

For transport, we’re encouraged to cycle and take public transport wherever possible. It’s less of a policy and more of a norm.

On the product, we don’t normally send you letters and our card carrying envelopes don’t have plastic windows so it’s easy to recycle everything once you receive your card.

On the card itself, it’s possible to recycle a cut up card in some places but we’re always looking at new, more recyclable materials. In addition, one of our card suppliers I recently visited has a zero-landfill policy in their personalisation building.

Our laptops get sold, reused, donated, or recycled at the end of their lives depending on condition. We’re almost entirely a MacBook company so this is highly recyclable aluminium and glass.

We generally print little to nothing so there’s no excessive use of paper (both an environmental and security gain!). We also do a fair amount of remote working and lots of remote meetings so that nobody has to excessively travel for a single thing.

These are just a few things off the top of my head from working here over the last few years, they may not seem dramatic but a lot of small company culture things add up. :slightly_smiling_face:

34 Likes

Super stuff, exactly the kind of thing they were looking for! Cheers @Rika

Just to follow up on the above:

  1. using AWS will put Monzo’s energy usage way lower than banks who have their own data centres
  2. using containerisation instead of VMs/physical servers will lead to a much lower energy usage
  3. having a modern code base, instead of the legacy codes banks use will lead to better energy efficiency among other things
  4. (this is probably the biggest factor outweighing any of the above 10,000+ times over) not having a bank network and the staff that requires will lead to a colossal reduction in Monzo’s carbon footprint
3 Likes

This is not universally true, and is very dependant on use case and scale.

In many cases yes, but again not universally true.

Probably one of the bigger misconceptions. It’s very dependant on what’s being used, but generally, a very large proportion of modern code is very inefficient.

Monzo use go by the looks of it for a lot of their stuff, which if used well is quite efficient, but not better than C. So good ‘legacy’ C code would be faster than good ‘modern’ go code. Be careful not to fall into the trap that new and shiny means better.

Better is better, new or old.

I’m not a fan of this argument because it’s the ‘well if we get rid of everything that’s better for the environment’ line, which is silly.

Monzo relies on other banks networks and other physical networks to function. Just because they aren’t doing it themselves doesn’t mean it’s not there.

1 Like

Would be interesting to know if their offices use a renewable energy supplier such as bulb.

Obviously the above stuff is not universally true, basically nothing is universally true. There are clear tendencies in that direction though.

I stand by my point about the modern code base, it’s not about languages, it’s about having a clean, modern code base that has a modern architecture and hasn’t been polluted over the past 40 years. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were still chunks of legacy bank architecture that printed out reams of paper or involved tape drives being moved around.

I also stand by my branch point. Which bank’s branch network does Monzo rely on? Banks employing vast amounts of people to go to physical locations will obviously have greater carbon emissions than those that are digitally focused. NatWest for instance has at least 40 times as many employees as Monzo despite probably not having more than 5 times the number of customers.

1 Like

Royal Mail, all paypoint locations, all other banks for ATM systems. Non conventional but they still rely on the physical world and will likely have to expand that at some point unless that’s not their goal.

It is good that Monzo are doing things for the environment no matter how small or large, but if my friends judged a BANK on their green credentials then I would be looking to switch my friends rather than trying to get my friends to switch bank!

Judge a supermarket using layers of plastic on vegetables you are going to wash before you use, but don’t judge a bank with no branches in the same way.

Probably not a popular opinion :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Don’t know if it’s popular, but I get it nonetheless :slightly_smiling_face:

No bank will be carbon neutral while they issue a plastic card as plastic is made from crude oil. As are all our phones and computers and a battery uses all sorts of bad for the environment things in it’s production.
Are all the green environmental types about to give up their tech I imagine not as the need it to ram the eco friendly stuff down our throats. I agree that more needs to be don’t to protect the environment but let’s be wise about it. For example most electric cars use more hydro carbons in their production shipping and sale than a diesel car will use in it’s life time (food for thought).
The best thing we can all do is make small changes to our lifestyles and big company’s can do the same but being carbon neutral is very hard for any company that rely on tech, on the surface it looks like they are doing it all right but when you look further into production values and procedures it is a different story.

3 Likes

What. A. Post. :clap:

1 Like

Do you have a source for this?

2 Likes

There has been loads of research into it over the past 5 or so years Top gear did the first look into it and lots of manufacturers have done to as have lots of oil companies and electrical companies. My uncle works for rolls Royce in there development centre and he is working on it for the aerospace industry and it isn’t working out yet.
In time it will be so much more environmentally friendly but at the moment the process involved are very carbon heavy especially in battery production.
Also big lumps of lead (batteries) currently can’t be disposed off very effectively so what happens when the electric cars eventually go to scrap as all cars do eventually.

Electric cars don’t use lead in batteries.

Lead acid batteries used in normal cars are also recyclable.

It’s difficult to find a good study on total environmental impact of a car, when you get onto electric cars it also depends on your electricity source. But i haven’t seen any irrefutable study showing electric cards are any worse, they’re definitely cleaner to drive if your electricity source is clean.

2 Likes

Yeah its more the production thats the issue as most the electric car companies are reluctant to show ther producton carbon usage figures. And they are still transporting the cars on diesel ships and trucks etc

That’s nitpicking really, cargo ships are used to carry almost all the worlds cargo everywhere, and there still basically the most efficient way of doing it despite the dirty fuel. Even then shipping emissions are improving as well anyway.

But if you calculate that into your numbers (which no one does) you calculate it into the number for normal cars too, they just cancel each other out anyway.

2 Likes

So all these studies take into account the CO2 produced to create the electricity used to run the car - most of the US centric ones took into account the high percentage of coal used to create electricity in the US.

However, in the future, hopefully 100% (or very close to 100%) of electricity will be generated from renewables or nuclear so CO2 emissions for running the car will be negligible. Therefore as the percentage of electricity generation from renewables and nuclear increases, the amount of CO2 used in the lifetime of an electric car decreases to a level significantly lower than that of a diesel car.

Also these studies don’t take into account the general decrease in pollution (eg: nitrous oxides) from using electric cars vs diesel or petrol cars. This pollution causes thousands of deaths per year in the UK alone.

2 Likes