Woke NatWest tells customers to stop eating meat and starts tracking their carbon footprint

An image outside a NatWest bank branch

An image outside a NatWest bank branch

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 03/11/2023

- 11:33

Updated: 04/11/2023

- 19:03

Transaction data is informing NatWest's 'Carbon Footprint Tracker'

NatWest's optional online feature has been telling customers to stop eating meat and has started trawling through their accounts to calculate their carbon footprint.

The bank’s mobile app is using transaction data to make opt-in recommendations about reducing carbon production under its new “Carbon Footprint Tracker”.

It even suggested customers could mend clothes rather than purchasing new outfits and swap dairy milk for plant-based alternatives.

NatWest’s mobile app enables customers to switch from “my spending” to “my footprint”.

WATCH NOW: Nigel Farage discusses his issue with NatWest during the debanking scandal

NatWest informs customers about the impact of a purchase.

One message from the app said: “If you spend £15 on a dress at a high-street shop, that could equate to a footprint of 16kg CO2.”

Customers receive personalised carbon footprint scores in kilograms of CO2 monthly.

A message on the app added: “The UK’s average monthly carbon footprint is approximately 1,000kgs [of CO2].

Alison RoseAlison Rose resigned from her role in JulyPA

“To help reduce the impact of climate change, scientists recommend that by 2030 we should aim for our carbon footprints to be around 180kgs.”

Suggested changes are categorised under different areas of spending, such as transport, groceries, bills and shopping and each comes with its own personalised carbon footprint rating based on how the customer has spent their money that month.

NatWest stressed its carbon tracker feature was introduced in November 2021.

The Big Four bank group added: "If a customer opts-in, they can then opt-out at any point in settings in the Insights section of the app."

NatWest, which is 38.6 per cent owned by the taxpayer following the 2008 financial crash, developed the feature through New Zealand tech firm Cogo.

An image of the NatWest app

An image of the NatWest app


Cogo offers retail banks a “personal carbon manager” for customers, the company’s website has revealed.

NatWest’s former chief executive Alison Rose, who resigned from her post following the Nigel Farage’s Coutts debanking scandal, previously said the feature would “empower our customers to understand their carbon impact”.

Santander also uses the Cogo carbon tracking software and TSB trialled the feature but decided to drop it in July.

A NatWest spokesman said: “Customers tell us they want to take action to live more sustainably, and to save money at the same time on things like energy bills, but they don’t always know where to begin.

“The Carbon Footprint Tracker is an opt-in feature in our app that helps customers to see the carbon impact of their spending, at an aggregated level, and provides tips and suggestions to reduce this and to help them to save money too”.

You may like