Customer demand for banking tools to track sustainability outstripping supply

5 min read|Published June 21, 2023
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New research by Tink reveals that 40% of people surveyed in the UK want their bank to offer tools to help track their environmental impact, yet only 24% of banks currently offer such services. The data indicates that the financial industry has an opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future by promoting tools that help customers understand, manage, and reduce their carbon footprint.

TL;DR – Quick summary
  • New Tink research shows that 40% of people surveyed in the UK want their bank to offer tools to track their environmental impact, yet only 24% of banks currently offer such tools.

  • Only 24% of banks offer tools to understand carbon footprints based on spending, but 40% are working on delivering this service, with half using fintech partnerships.

  • Banks need to increase consumer engagement and awareness of these tools to meet customer expectations and retain loyalty.

TL;DR – Quick summary
  • New Tink research shows that 40% of people surveyed in the UK want their bank to offer tools to track their environmental impact, yet only 24% of banks currently offer such tools.

  • Only 24% of banks offer tools to understand carbon footprints based on spending, but 40% are working on delivering this service, with half using fintech partnerships.

  • Banks need to increase consumer engagement and awareness of these tools to meet customer expectations and retain loyalty.

With climate change and sustainability a near-constant topic in today’s news cycle, many industries are introspectively looking at what they can do to not only educate themselves, but also help their customers make more informed decisions. Finance is no different, and we recently asked both consumers and banking executives to share their thoughts on the crossroads of sustainability and banking. 

Clear appetite for improved sustainability tools

Based on a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers and 113 senior retail banking executives, the research highlights the opportunity for banks to play a bigger role in helping customers become more sustainable.

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Here is a quick snapshot of some of the key findings from our research: 

  • 40% of people surveyed in the UK want their bank to offer tools to track their environmental impact

  • Only 24% of banks currently offer such tools, despite high demand 

  • Just 17% of banking customers are actively using sustainability tools provided by banks 

  • 28% of customers surveyed would switch to a bank that provides tools to track their carbon footprint 

  • 37% of people want their bank to do more to help reduce their carbon footprint 

  • 32% want an overview of CO2 emissions from transactions across all their accounts

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While many banks recognise the importance of helping customers on their sustainability journey, findings suggest that not all banks are backing this up by investing in the opportunity. It’s encouraging to see in Tink’s research that 51% of banks are planning to maintain investment or invest more in sustainability focused tools for customers, however, a significant proportion (46%) are planning to invest less or stop investing altogether.

Those who do not prioritise their sustainability offering risk losing out to banks who are already delivering these tools to customers, with over a quarter (28%) of customers saying they would switch to a different bank if it allowed them to see the environmental impact of their purchases.

What banks can do 

Now that many people view and manage their finances on the go with smartphone apps, one way that banks can improve their customers’ knowledge and understanding is to embed climate engagement solutions into their online banking services. 

We recently enhanced our collaboration with ecolytiq, one such solution that allows banks, fintechs, and other financial service providers to show their customers the estimated impact their purchases have on the environment.

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By combining Tink's open banking and data enrichment capabilities with ecolytiq's sustainability features, financial institutions can help their customers to understand how their consumption habits impact their environmental footprints across all their bank accounts and transaction types.

The key next step after awareness is action. By using climate solutions like ecolytiq, banks can encourage and coach their customers to reduce their carbon footprint, directly engaging with them on climate education, helping them to make a difference, and therefore improving their consumer relations.

Tasha Chouhan, UK & IE Banking Lead at Tink, said: “It is vital that banks don’t miss the chance to compete on their sustainability proposition and in turn, foster better engagement with their customers. Thanks to technology offered by fintech partners, banks who may be further behind can quickly begin to lead on sustainable banking by seamlessly integrating sustainability-based features into their offering.

“But there’s a bigger prize to be won here. By driving the uptake of these tools to help customers better understand and manage their carbon footprint, we have an opportunity as an industry to play our part in creating a more sustainable future for everyone. Which is why we collaborate with climate engagement solutions like ecolytiq, to make it simple for banks to plug in sustainability services and meet their customers’ needs.”

About the research

Consumer research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Tink in May 2023, amongst 2,007 nationally representative UK adults.

Banking executive research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Tink in May 2023 amongst 113 retail banking executives working at head offices. All executives surveyed are decision makers who are involved in the strategic direction of the business.

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