The Yayzy App: Linking consumer spending to environmental impact

Image source: TechCrunch.com

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1) Sustainability problem: Energy – Greenhouse gas emissions associated with consumer purchasing 

Over the last decade, consumer consumption of goods and services has increased across the world, leading to depletion of natural resources and damage to the environment. These forces have prompted firms to create products that emit less carbon and create fewer emissions during their life-cycle stages including manufacture, transportation, disposal and usage. However, consumers often lack the time, guidance and information to easily consider these impacts when making purchasing decisions.

2) Technology Summary

Article reference: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/23/yayzy-app-automatically-calculates-the-environmental-impact-of-your-spending/

  • Yayzy has developed an app to track carbon footprint using payments data so consumers can connect spending to their impact on the planet. The app links to a consumer’s bank account, and helps track, reduce and compensate for the carbon footprint of purchases. 
  • Using payment data via Open Banking standards (UK based), the app automatically calculates the carbon footprint of each purchase a user makes, to help keep individuals’ total carbon monthly emissions in line with United Nations 2 degree target.
  • As the user sees the carbon footprint of their purchase, the app gives the option to offset it immediately via the carbon offsetter Ecosphere Plus. For its underlying carbon data, Yayzy is using Vital Metrics (also used by Google, Microsoft and both the UK and US governments). App users can also find tips to reduce their carbon footprint, eco-friendly retailers near them or insights into lifestyle choices that have the highest environmental impact.
  • Many competitors exist in the space, for example; CoGo, a real-time Carbon Footprint tracker, Doconomy and Tred, however Yayzy claims to be different by bringing together all of a user’s spending and showing item by item as they spend what the carbon footprint of that spend is.
  • Looking to the future, Yayzy is developing a B2B service, offering the technology as APIs for banks and fintechs. The UK based startup is further developing a function to allow users to compete with friends on targets. Furthermore, the startup is looking to add an impact investing function for consumers to the app which involves introducing and recommending ESG investments.

3) Organizational stakeholders 

  • App users – Individual Consumers
  • App users – Businesses 
  • Banks 
  • Retailers 
  • 3rd parties. e.g. carbon offsetting companies, carbon data companies
  • Shareholders, Investors

4) 3 steps in deploying this technology

  • Development: Craft detailed use cases for the mobile app. A detailed use scenario helps every aspect of app deployment – from giving developers a tangible target to driving more accurate cost and ROI projections to securing funding for the next stage of app development and expansion beyond the UK.
  • Testing and transparency: As the app develops further, it is important to gather relevant stakeholders into formalized roles so they can coherently respond to issues and help direct decision-making. Data transparency is essential to communicate to relevant stakeholders. 
  • Monitoring: Consider issues around process transformation and ongoing lifecycle by setting a schedule and pattern for app updates, and monitoring progress. Aspects of this may include; integration challenges, social and environmental impact and cost considerations.

References:

https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/23/yayzy-app-automatically-calculates-the-environmental-impact-of-your-spending/

https://yayzy.com/

https://www.antler.co/our-startups/yayzy

https://ecosphere.plus/

https://www.vitalmetricsgroup.com/

https://cogo.co/

https://www.tred.earth/

3 thoughts on “The Yayzy App: Linking consumer spending to environmental impact

  1. dg3199

    Love the idea of looking at purchasing data to make decisions. I wonder how this is addressed with respect to purchases with “ambiguous” or “unclear” titles such as “purchase from Amazon” without product specifications. I think the creation of APIs to help active monitoring of spending linked directly to products is a more comprehensive solution. If you’re interested, please see my most recent post about a similar technology called Cloverly, more closely linked/geared towards SMEs (Small and Medium sized enterprises). Great post!

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  2. This is an interesting approach to sway purchase intent. It seems like there is a hurdle for users to provide Yayzy access to bank account data. I am curious if they plan on integrating Plaid or are developing a custom solution. It seems like all companies in this sector will face challenges providing meaningful insights based on bank account data. I question if a standalone app will generate enough marketshare or if these are features that should be integrated into existing financial management apps. In either case, great overview!

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  3. This is a really cool app idea – the carbon footprint of individual decisions in our lives is such a black box that quantifying them line-by-line could go a long way in influencing behavior. It’s especially cool that they offer the opportunity for users to subscribe to carbon offsets, as a way to even it out. I wonder what the net impact of this might be though, kind of like related on research on “guilt-free consumption” – like how people who exercise then feel comfortable in treating themselves to a dessert that results in more net calories consumed than they would have eaten if they hadn’t worked out. Hopefully that wouldn’t be the result, but it may be something we need to keep an eye on as carbon offsets increase in popularity.

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