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Providing Sustainability Insights Would Influence 4.6 Million More UK Banking Customers to Shop Greener, According to Research by Cogo

  • In a new online behavioural study, carbon footprint management experts Cogo evaluated UK consumers’ attitudes to sustainability in the cost-of-living crisis
  • 64% are motivated to take financial and carbon saving action when shown the carbon impact data, compared to 55% when shown the financial savings alone – equating to 4.6 million UK banking users who are more likely to adopt sustainable lifestyle habits
  • However, only 16% are aware of the financing options that could make their lives more sustainable
  • One in four (23%) would like to hear more about green financing options from their banks

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–People are more motivated by sustainability impact than financial savings when it comes to making greener lifestyle choices, according to new behavioural research by carbon footprint management experts, Cogo. The study found that 64% would act when shown the carbon impact data of their choices compared to just 55% when shown the financial savings on the same actions. This 9% difference equates to 4.6 million UK banking users*.

“We’re surprised by the findings,” says Emma Kisby, Cogo CEO for EMEA. “It shows us that even in a cost-of-living crisis, people are still inspired to act when they see how changing a habit can help the planet, as well as their wallet.

“We expected that financial savings would be a strong motivation, and carbon data might strengthen it further by adding an emotional element. But, what we have actually found is that when it comes to making sustainable lifestyle changes, people are more willing to do it for altruistic reasons, over simple financial gain – even when many are tightening their belts.”

The effect was especially noticeable when asking about actions that either do not typically save much money (switching to a renewable energy supplier, washing clothes on 30°C instead of 40°) or have an upfront cost (switching to an electric vehicle, installing loft insulation).

Lack of green finance information holding consumers back

But even among the climate conscious, there was a lack of awareness about the sustainable finance products which are already offered by many high street banks. Only 16% of people are aware of financial options that can help their household become more environmentally sustainable.

One in four (23%) would like to hear more about financing options from their banks. The most in-demand options were green loans, mortgages, bonds and grants. While financial savings can incentivise climate action, one way to motivate people to reduce their environmental impact is by presenting carbon saving data. As banks possess transactional data, they can help customers understand the carbon emissions associated with their spending. The first step is to help customers understand where their spending has the most impact on the planet, then offering features to help customers track this impact over time.

The findings make it clear that there is a potential market of consumer appetite for more support in making sustainable behaviour changes with an upfront cost, which few can easily afford during the cost-of-living crisis. The Cogo study found that 68% were feeling insecure with their financial situation, so banks have a clear opportunity to address this insecurity.

Banks are missing crucial green banking opportunity

“It’s clear that many consumers don’t feel supported to confidently take sustainable action when it comes to their finance products,” says Emma. “Banks are a vital service which most of us are in contact with on a regular basis – almost everyone has a bank account. This means your bank is the ideal place to get information on the climate impact of spending decisions and other financial choices.

“The consumer demand for green banking options is rising, and the role which financial services play in the climate crisis – and solving it – is increasingly understood. Banks need to prepare for the age of the conscious consumer and work to align their products and services to a sustainable way of banking and living. They can get a headstart by tailoring financial solutions based on the carbon saving actions their customers are most willing to take.”

Previous Cogo research found that 48% of UK mobile banking users are specifically in support of their bank helping them to make more pro-environmental purchasing choices.


Notes on methodology

2000 participants, data collected between 22 December 2022 and 09 January 2023, through Prolific. Participants were screened to be representative of the UK population through the panel.

Participants were assigned randomly to four conditions. All of them were presented with the same list of climate actions (in randomised order), however, participants in different conditions would see different types of information presented with these climate actions.

The study tested how showing financial savings and/or carbon savings in different combinations would change people’s intent to take sustainable actions, like switching to renewable energy or installing loft insulation. For each action presented, participants were asked to indicate their willingness to adopt the action based on the information presented to them.

*4.6 million banking users in the UK:

As of 2019 on ONS, the UK’s total population over 16 was aprox 52.7 million. Approximately 97 percent had any day-to-day bank account, amounting to approximately 51.1 million individuals (Source: statista, June 2018). 9% of 51.1 million is 4.6 million.

About Cogo

Cogo is a carbon footprint management product that helps individuals and businesses to measure, understand and reduce their impact on the climate. Cogo does this through partnerships with some of the world’s largest banks to integrate leading carbon-tracking functionality into their banking apps.

Cogo uses best-in-class models to provide accurate ways to measure carbon emissions specific to local markets and cutting edge behavioural science techniques to nudge customers to make more sustainable choices.

Cogo currently works with 12 banks, with plans to double this in the next twelve months. Founded in 2016, Cogo now employs over 100 people, operates in 12 countries across Europe and Australasia (including the UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Singapore).

Cogo has raised over US$12.5million in funding since launch.

To find out more information about Cogo, please visit


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