The popular proverb says, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Looking at a mobile phone and seeing the amount of CO2 produced by our daily purchases can raise awareness and curb our consumption.

Banco Santander has launched a new feature in its mobile application that allows banking customers to track and offset their carbon footprint based on purchases made with their bank card and direct debits. The calculation of emissions is carried out by Global Factor, a consultancy specialized in climate change, “based on the euro amount and the sector of activity associated with each transaction (restaurants, supermarkets, leisure and wellness, transportation, education, clothing, among others).”

The carbon footprint can be checked on a monthly basis and is presented in kilograms of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, along with its equivalent in trees needed to offset it. For example, a customer who made purchases equivalent to 150 kg of CO2 in April, if they maintain the same level and buying profile for 12 months, will need to plant seven trees to offset the carbon footprint of their purchases.

After launching this feature in Spain and Poland, the bank’s customers in Portugal will also be able to learn about the carbon footprint of their purchases.

In addition to measuring the carbon footprint of purchases, this application goes further and allows the customer to offset that same footprint. What is this offsetting? Carbon offsetting is the process of financing projects that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions to offset one’s own emissions and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint. In other words, the customer pollutes with their purchases, but at the same time, they are contributing to a project such as reforestation.

On the bank’s website, it is possible to see some of the projects that have credits available for sale, such as the Vichada reforestation project in Colombia. It is a project along the Orinoco River that combines reforestation with biodiversity protection and ecosystem restoration. The offsetting price per kilogram is 0.01 euros.

The customer can also choose a project that involves implementing and operating renewable energy plants in Brazil. In this case, the offsetting price per kilogram is 0.0117 euros.

Source: Expresso