CFOtech New Zealand - Technology news for CFOs & financial decision-makers
Story image
Open banking will 'force' banks to innovate around climate
Thu, 10th Aug 2023

Open finance innovator Akahu and climate fintech Cogo have announced a partnership that will enable banks to easily turn everyday transaction data into carbon emissions insights, making it simpler for Kiwis to accurately understand the impact of their spending, and take meaningful action to reduce their impact on the planet.

"We owe it to future generations to leave them a more sustainable and fairer world and our goal is to help everyone better understand how their spending affects the climate crisis," says Julie Lindenberg, CEO for Cogos APAC operations.

"To do this in time to save the planet, we need to affect change at scale. This is why we work with financial institutions - so we can reach their millions of collective customers and drive change on a global level."

Cogo currently works with 16 banks globally, including NatWest (UK), ING Group (Netherlands), Westpac (Australia), Commonwealth Bank (Australia), Suncorp Bank (Australia) and Kiwibank (NZ), to provide carbon emissions data for banking transactions such as spend on electricity and fuel. 

The Cogo Personal and Business Carbon Manager solutions calculate carbon footprints for both individuals and businesses, and can provide personalised recommendations on ways to lower carbon footprints. Businesses can also share their progress, which can help attract and retain customers.

The accurate categorisation of bank transactions is key to the success of Cogo's technology. Akahu, which provides open finance infrastructure in New Zealand, offers the ability to categorise bank transaction data at scale. Cogo's carbon footprint management solutions then assign an emissions factor to each categorised transaction, giving consumers accurate insight into their carbon footprint. 

Furthermore, Cogo's intelligent nudge engine helps consumers make more responsible financial choices by suggesting personalised climate actions.

Josh Daniell, co-founder at Akahu, says the partnership is well timed. 

As a country, New Zealand is developing regulation that will give consumers more choice around who they want to share their financial data with. 

"Open banking allows consumers to securely connect their financial data to third party services - including those which help to make planet-friendly choices. Banks who provide carbon footprinting functionality in-app will avoid seeing their customers go elsewhere for this type of support," says Daniell.

 "Our purpose is to give people control of their data. Transaction categorisation, combined with Cogo's carbon analytics, is a great example of how we can each leverage our data for positive impact."

Cogo and Akahu are challenging Kiwi banks to catch up in terms of deploying carbon footprinting for their customers.

"Worldwide, knowing the climate impact of your spend has shifted from being good to know to something that customers are starting to demand," says Lindenberg. 

"We believe giving customers the ability to align their spending with their environmental and social values will soon become a hygiene factor," she says.

"Using both Akahu and Cogos proven technologies, it is now easier than ever before to offer customers planet-friendly banking innovation. To succeed tomorrow; banks must design the future today. There is simply no alternative if were to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change."