How Fintech can help people save the planet

One of the largest crises our humanity will ever face is global warming and climate change. Can fintech help us to face this global crisis? 

Mitto, the Barcelona-based startup that promotes sustainable consumption rewarding its users for buying responsibly, was born in 2019 as a prepaid card for children and parents to promote financial education, although in 2020 it has definitely evolved towards what originally motivated its CEO, Marcos Cuevas: the promotion of sustainable consumption. 

To face the Climate Crisis, we need to fundamentally change our spending and consumption habits. If we continue on this actual trajectory, the damage to our planet will be irreparable. Such is the dimension of the problem we face, that 94 cities in the world with a combined population of 700 million people are responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions through their consumption, due to The Future of Urban Consumption, from C40 Cities Report. It’s clear, then, that we are a huge part of the problem. 

Mitto’s CEO, Marcos Cuevas, realised that the real problem with sustainable consumption was us: the consumers. We usually want cheap clothing, cheap food, cheap transport and cheap products, and sustainability is not taken into account in our payment decisions. And even if we do care about the Planet, it’s often difficult to find out the true impact and harm of the products we are buying, because often sustainable consumption is considered expensive, confusing with a lack of sustainable alternatives and there is little understanding of how much our current habits impact the planet. So, the solution Marcos found was “sustainability through spending”. That is, creating a tool that empowers people to make sustainable choices by showing users the real impact of their spending habits in real-time and showing them better alternatives.

Mitto wants to be a tool for people to become aware of their personal contribution to the health of the planet. They take into account the 17 Sustainable Development Goals defined by the UN, and they work to help companies that base their production and business model on sustainable formulas and models. As the UN indicates in its definition of objective 12 of the SDGs, about Responsible production and consumption, “achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources”.

Mitto is today a virtual bank account that issues prepaid debit cards in favor of sustainability. Its goal is to provide information to users so that they can make conscious decisions about their consumption habits, and they do so by giving them information: every time a person purchases an item with their Mitto Card, they will see on the app how much CO2 that specific purchase has produced. Not only that, but the app will also tell them the overall impact that specific merchant has, and the positive and negative sides of purchasing with them. Moreover, Mitto will also let their users know what are some sustainable alternatives for their next purchase.

To summarise, Mitto is more of an information app with advantages. It collects specific information from every merchant their users buy, and then offer it to their users every time they make a purchase. Their goal is to partner up with sustainable brands and merchants, and offer users cashback whenever they purchase an item from a “healthy alternative”. To face the problem that sustainable consumption is considered expensive, Mitto offers discounts to their users in order to forget about the argument that buying sustainable is more expensive. Now, thanks to Mitto Plus, their users can get instant cashback and other discounts when they purchase from Mitto’s partner brands. So, Mitto is now the first financial app in Spain that encourages consumption that is respectful and conscious of the planet and the people who live on it.

The crowdfunding campaign promoted by Mitto through Crowdcube has brought together more than 500 investors who are committed to sustainable finance for a healthier planet and it has raised more than £500,000. They closed the crowdfunding campaign overfunded, and it is part of a larger funding round which has given their clients and community the opportunity to invest on the same terms as institutional investors. 

Mitto has already built an incredible community of over 185,000 users since they launched the app, but they know that their mission extends far beyond Spain: after the closing of the Crowdcube campaign, they will begin to implement plans to expand to the rest of Eurozone in 2021 to spread conscious consumption.

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Marcos Cuevas Mitto

Author: Lauren Towner

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