The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank), with over AU$1.09 trillion ($693 billion) in assets, is Australia’s largest bank. The bank recently partnered with CoGo, a “carbon management solution” firm, to launch a program that links a client’s purchases to how much carbon dioxide those purchases cause. It also provides them with warnings when they are going over the average. These features are now part of the bank’s online banking platform. (Related: Bank Australia to stop approving loans for new fossil fuel cars, will only handle car loans for EVs.)
CommBank is even providing customers with an option to pay a fee to allow the bank to offset their carbon footprint for them. It lists the national average carbon footprint to be 1,280 kilograms (2,822 pounds) per person, a long way from the supposedly more sustainable carbon footprint of 200 kilograms (441 pounds) per person.
The company calculates a person’s carbon footprint by showing its equivalent in different measures. These include telling a customer how many trees cut or how many kilometers driven by car their carbon footprints are equivalent to.
“By combining our rich customer data and CoGo’s industry-leading capability in measuring carbon outputs, we will be able to provide greater transparency for customers so that they can take actionable steps to reduce their environmental footprint,” said Commonwealth Bank Group Executive for Retail Banking Services Angus Sullivan.
Concerns about financial privacy and security raised by carbon footprint tracker
CommBank’s carbon footprint tracker also comes in the form of an app. This app, as per the bank’s statement, will give customers individualized breakdowns of their carbon emissions, which will then be divided into spending categories like utilities, transportation and personal shopping.
The app will then provide users with suggestions for how they can lower their impact on the environment, such as taking public transit over driving, using reusable bags or switching to renewable energy sources at home.
CommBank General Manager for Strategy Investments and Transformation Ben Morgan said the bank is providing CoGo with all of its customer data to provide people with “personalized and granular information” about how their spending allegedly harms the environment.
“A customer’s carbon footprint is an estimate that considers things such as personalized spending data and transaction behaviors using select CommBank products,” said Morgan. “We can then assign each transaction emissions factor data per industry type, which is provided to us by CoGo to calculate their carbon footprint.”
What this means is that the bank will be voluntarily handing over private customer data to a corporation in order to influence how people should spend their money.
The bank has also been criticized for being hypocritical with regard to its support for so-called climate change mitigation. Australian environmental group Market Forces pointed out that CommBank is still heavily financing new coal, oil and gas projects. The group claims the bank has poured tens of billions of Australian dollars into major Australian fossil fuel companies since 2016.
“If they are so worried about dead trees as a result of bank spending, why are these imbeciles running a bank at all?” asked Mark Latham, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council and a member of the conservative One Nation party.
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Watch this clip from the “Daily Dispatch” on InfoWars as host Harrison Smith discusses the Commonwealth Bank’s carbon footprint tracking program for its clients.
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