C6 Bank, a Brazilian digital financial institution, has introduced a new tool named “Carbon Extract” that tracks the CO2 emissions of its customers. The tool monitors CO2 emissions from everyday expenses made with debit and credit cards as well as transfers and Pix transactions. C6 Bank aims to inspire Brazilians to adopt more sustainable behaviors by analyzing the consequences of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere while serving as an indicator for implementing sustainable measures. The bank calculates the estimated carbon footprint for each transaction conducted with the account. On April 13, a C6 Bank customer shared screenshots of his online bank account, revealing that the financial institution was tracking CO2 emissions from his purchases and urging him to compensate monetarily.
In recent years, politicians have pushed banks to adhere to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) objectives. This has led financial institutions to focus on climate change, equality, and social justice. Several banks and major payment services worldwide have developed tools to measure customers’ transactional carbon footprints. For example, Mastercard created a carbon calculator tool for this purpose. Moneythor analyzes customer transaction data to estimate CO2 output, while Personetics has developed a customer-based carbon footprint monitoring tool. Bud, an open banking fintech company, offers a carbon emissions tool, and fintech firm Cogo’s research suggests that 75% of banking customers desire information related to such data. Digital bank Meniga also argues that banks should provide estimates of their customers’ CO2 output.
Dr. Simon Goddek, CEO of Sunfluencer and a C6 Bank customer, described how his bank is already utilizing tools that monitor customer transactions related to CO2 emissions. He tweeted, “My Brazilian bank, C6 Bank, is now tracking my CO2 emissions from purchases, travel, etc., and strongly encouraging me to compensate monetarily for them. I predicted this development two years ago, and now it seems to be slowly coming true. Welcome to the dystopian world we live in.” He also noted that JPMorgan has a significant stake in C6 Bank and suggested it could foreshadow similar developments in the United States. JPMorgan Chase owns a 40% stake in C6 Bank.
The tool was referred to as a “preview” of central bank digital currency (CBDC) on the Reddit r/bitcoin forum. A user mentioned that Turkey’s Garanti Bank also offers a CO2 emissions banking tool. “It’s coming,” the Redditor warned, “They just need to create the necessary crises to introduce it on a global scale.” In May 2022, Garanti BBVA introduced its carbon footprint tool, which calculates customers’ carbon emissions based on their banking transactions.
Critics of these technologies claim they may ultimately lead to transaction censorship and account closures. This comes at a time when banks globally are already closing customer accounts without much explanation, as reported by The New York Times on April 8, 2023. However, supporters argue that tracking carbon footprints through transactional data is a necessary step towards a more sustainable future.
What do you think about banks tracking their customers’ carbon footprints through transactional data? Do you believe this is a necessary step towards a more sustainable future, or an invasion of privacy and potential censorship of financial activity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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