Five financial apps to save the planet

Cop26 is over but what lasting changes can you make to help curb climate change when it comes to your finances

Rebecca Goodman
Wednesday 17 November 2021 07:00
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<p>Activists at Cop26 in Glasgow last week </p>

Activists at Cop26 in Glasgow last week

Warnings about the damage we’re doing to our planet have been coming thick and fast in the last few weeks, and it has been impossible to miss the ominous predictions of what will happen if we continue on the same path.

They were accompanied by promises and commitments to put policies into action to reverse the impact of climate change. From moving toward greener energy sources and plans for housing developers to prioritise the environment to proposals for banks to publish their plans for net zero, many solutions were suggested.

These were encompassed in the Glasgow Climate Pact, which aims to reduce the worst impact of the climate emergency and to try to keep temperature rises within 1.5C, to prevent what scientists have called a “climate catastrophe”.

But while there is much to be done by countries, companies, and banks, there are also lots of ways we can help in our day to day lives.

It’s impossible to ignore the fact that it’s going to take actions from every person on the planet to ease the problem. However, modern technology means it’s now even easier to do our bit to help the planet. Here are five free financial apps which not only help to ease climate change, but can also benefit your personal finances, to get you started.

Olio

Up to 50 per cent of all food produced around the world is never eaten, while one in nine of us are starving or malnourished, says Olio. Its goal is to help fight food waste by connecting those with leftover food to those who want it. From a loaf of bread about to go off which you know you’ll never eat to a batch of restaurant-quality meals which are about to go in the bin, you can pick up a huge range of good quality food, for free, on the app. It not only helps those in need, it also helps those on a budget – instead of buying food from the supermarket, why not take it off someone else’s hands for free.

Twig

In the UK £12.5bn in clothing is thrown away every year as 59 per cent of consumers say this is the easiest option when it comes to getting rid of things, according to Twig. It’s described by the owners as “Your bank of things” and it is a new banking app helping users to make money from selling their unwanted items. It offers traditional banking services including direct debits and a debit card alongside an app where you can upload your unwanted clothes and electronics and sell them. The price of the item is calculated by Twig, and it sells or upcycles the item if you agree to the fee, which you’ll receive in cash. It takes the hassle out of reselling old items, although it’s always worth comparing how much you’re getting with other reselling options, while helping the planet. You can take cash out with a Twig debit card from an ATM and there’s no charge for the basic service, although there may be for its premium membership. Its aim is to keep things out of landfill while helping users meet their financial and environmental goals.

Yoyu

The aim of the free Yoyu app is to put fossil fuels out of business, and it could save you money on your energy bills at the same time. The app tells you the most expensive, and the cheapest, times to use energy and it says it can save users up to 50 per cent in carbon in their homes. It gives a 24-hour prediction of the best time to use energy based on the weather forecast. This means electricity consumption is matched to the most “renewable” times of the day, usually when it’s sunny or windy, with the goal of changing everyone over to using this type of energy.

Cushon

Each pension pot finances an average of 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year through investments, according to Cushon, the creators of the world’s first net zero pension.

This is equivalent to running either nine family cars each year or burning 1,100 coal fires annually, a significant hit to the environment through a retirement savings pot. It can be hard to find out exactly how much is invested in companies that harm the environment and this is where companies like Cushon come in. It says it’s unique because it’s net zero now, instead of promising to reach this target in the future. It has an app where users can monitor their pension alongside other savings accounts.

Yayzy

Have you ever wondered what your financial carbon footprint is? How about in real time? Wonder no further as with the free Yayzy app you can track it instantly. It is linked to your bank account and calculates the carbon footprint of everything you buy, via a secure and encrypted system. You’ll then receive an itemised overview of exactly how your spending influences your carbon footprint, along with options on how to reduce the impact.

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