How well do you understand your own personal carbon footprint? For more than 90 million global Klarna users, there’s a year’s worth of individualized insight sitting right in their pocket. The fintech app is primarily known for its “pay in 4” system, which allows consumers to split purchases from partnered retailers into 4 interest-free installments. In April 2021, the Stockholm-based company launched a new feature, the CO2 Emissions Tracker, enabling users to track the emissions produced by any third-party purchase made through the Klarna app. Powered by Doconomy’s Aland Index API, the feature gives a comprehensive but easily digestible visualization of a shopper’s individual carbon footprint.
But Klarna doesn’t give this information to their users just so they can have it: their copy is a call to action for Klarna shoppers to use the insights from their purchases to become more environmentally conscious—and make decisions that are better for the environment. The slogan of the initiative, titled Give One, is explicit in its instruction: “a little less conversation, a little more action.”
The Give One initiative also includes Klarna’s pledge to donate 1% of all future funding to “vetted, high-impact projects” combating climate change. Last year, Klarna raised around $1 billion in one funding round, sending $10 million to a variety of initiatives and climate solution projects. Klarna’s users are savvy consumers: they know that the more purchases they put through Klarna, the more investment the company will attract—and the more dollars will go right back to the planet.
With the Give One initiative, Klarna has turned a normally passive activity (shopping online) into an action that protects the environment.
Consumers Want To Be More Sustainable, and Klarna Gives Them the Tools to Do It
As the climate crisis becomes more and more evident, consumers are increasingly adamant about supporting brands whose values align with their own. In response, there are a plethora of brands that take great pains to promote their sustainable operations and manufacturing, or their donations to climate change initiatives. Environmentally-conscious consumers flock to brands which signal they have the same values and concern for the planet because they feel good knowing their purchase, however passive, will have a positive impact.
Klarna is doing more than putting their money where their mouth is. In announcing the Give One initiative, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski remarked, “This type of information shouldn’t be a premium or luxury that consumers pay for, but rather an essential part of every shopping journey. That’s why we’re upgrading our app to give all our consumers globally transparent access to their shopping carbon footprint.”
Other carbon footprint tracking systems, like Normative, have price tiers and mainly sell to other businesses. Trackers designed for personal use tend to track energy usage through utilities like gas, electricity and water—not purchases of goods or services. Certainly, Klarna’s CO2 Emissions Tracker could have been easily monetized given its unique features. The fact that it’s free and their own CEO says he would not have it any other way further reinforces to customers how committed Klarna is to action against climate change.
Klarna doesn’t just raise awareness, it commands action
Klarna doesn’t just want to inform users—it wants to empower them with data that shapes real-world decisions. In fact, the word “power” is prominent through the brand’s copy: “The power’s in your hands…We give you the power to shop more consciously than ever before.” The words “power” and “empower” appear seven times on Klarna’s Sustainability web page, lending a sense of urgent action to the CO2 Emissions Tracker.
But with great power comes great responsibility. Klarna’s action-packed copy is commanding shoppers to actually put this data to use—changing behaviors and informing choice—while providing a moral incentive to keep making third-party purchases through Klarna. Physically, using the tracker is as simple as scrolling through one’s phone screen with a single finger. The real power and action comes from the data, and how consumers will use it to change their behaviors.
“Vote with your wallet” Klarna’s copy commands. Based on the tracker’s insights, shoppers could decide to stop purchasing from a company with poor emissions stats, or to start buying more products from retailers with impressively low emissions. In turn, Klarna encourages their retail partners to improve their carbon footprint with the chance to have their items featured in in-app content curated to “recognize and promote brands’ efforts towards sustainability.”
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Klarna partnered with experts in carbon footprint tracking, and your company can, too
Klarna did not invent their carbon tracking metrics—they did not need to. Much like the partnerships with third-party retailers which form the backbone of their fintech app, Klarna relied on an outside firm, Doconomy, to supply the metrics their tracker would use to measure shoppers’ overall carbon footprint.
Doconomy has an array of financial tools to measure individual, corporate and global environmental impact, with the goal of educating consumers and industries about their carbon footprint—and promoting action to reduce it. They recently partnered with Mastercard to launch the Mastercard Carbon Calculator, based on the same Doconomy API as Klarna’s tracker. Available to all Mastercard holders, the partnership represents the biggest expansion of such tools to so many consumers at once.
Now that carbon footprint tracking is available on a mass, personal use scale, with several upstart companies developing their own systems, this is the perfect moment for businesses to partner with an environmental impact firm—and provide the same tools to their consumers. Industrial and corporate emissions massively dwarf individual and civilian emissions, but most businesses will only change their environmental impact when the market forces them to change.
Consumers have been saying for years that this is what they want and what they are about. Now it’s time for businesses to hold their peers to a new, higher standard of sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Would you like to take your company’s copy to greener pastures? Contact Marketsmiths content team.