ekko becomes a UK leader in green finance

26/07/2023 Lawrence Bewes

London-based finance firm ekko designed a debit card and app so that employers and customers can track and reduce their environmental impact. As a result, the company has won multiple awards for its innovative approach to sustainability.

ekko is a fintech (financial technology) company based in London. Launched in 2021, it offers a range of innovative financial services.

Co-founder and CEO Oli Cook is passionate about climate change. Before he created ekko, he felt he wasn’t doing his part. He found it difficult to know how to make a difference in the middle of a hectic work and social life.

ekko’s other co-founders felt the same way. So they decided to build a business that could help consumers take positive actions for climate change and track the impact of their transactions.

The result is an ambitious app, debit card and commerce platform that is paving the way for climate-conscious purchasing.

ekko billboard poster of a woman drinking coffee with the words: "a coffee here. a forest there. dig it?"

Empowering customers to make a positive climate impact

Oli and his team designed a debit card which makes it easy for everyone to have a positive environmental impact. Every tap of the card is returned with real-time, carbon-tracking data that helps consumers understand and then reduce their purchasing impact.

Purchasing with ekko also turns transactions into planted trees and plastic bottles. The plastic bottles are collected and recycled before they can reach the sea.

The ekko app allows customers to track their bank balance and carbon footprint, as well as their own personal forest and bottle count.

This technology is not just for consumers, in 2023 ekko opened their platform to any employer wanting to empower their people with impactful staff benefits as well as opening their technology up to any retailer or bank to offer to their own consumers.

Co-founder and CEO of ekko Oli Cook

Meaningful impact  

During the next five years, the company aims to:

  • plant more than 50 million trees
  • prevent more than 500 million bottles entering our oceans

ekko has partnered with many of the world leaders to deliver their proportion to the market to reach these goals, including Mastercard, Prevented Ocean Plastic and Gold Standard.

Oli says: “I’ve found that there are a number of tree planting partners out there, but they are not all equal. Through the partnerships we are confident in having the biggest impact possible.”

“That means that we’re planting the right trees at the right time and in the right places to have the biggest impact possible. These trees are maintained and nurtured for five years to make sure they survive the early years and go on to have an impact in reducing CO2.”

Business benefits

After launching in 2021, ekko is on track to make a strong impact on consumer climate action. The company’s efforts were recognised by the Cards and Payments award for “Best Achievement in Sustainability 2023”.

Their sustainability award has led to ekko expanding its operations. The company aims to develop more products and to build an ecosystem of environmentally focused businesses. This includes “ekko incentives” – an employee benefit platform helping teams to live more sustainably.

Oli says: “We need to help businesses understand their true emissions and give them the tools and information to take action to reduce their emissions.”

Joining the SME Climate Hub

Quote from ekko making their commitment to the SME Climate Hub.

ekko has made the climate commitment and joined the global Race to Zero.

Oli says: “We find it most exciting that the SME Climate Hub has a community element. As a community, we can increase the ekko impact or find new ways through partnerships to create a positive change in a way we haven’t thought of yet.”

“As a start-up we live for meeting like-minded people and figuring out if there is a way to work together to drive change. The SME Climate Hub is a wonderful initiative for this and is already having a positive impact on us.”

Advice for other SMEs

“There is a feeling that exists among small and medium sized consumer businesses that by making bold statements about doing anything positive around climate change, you’re risking your business being attacked for not being perfect.”

“Start by starting and don’t get caught by the fear of needing to be perfect. No one is. But if you’re genuinely trying to do some good then you should go for it.”

Hand holding an ekko debit card with the words: "This is not a bank card. It's a positive change."

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