Frequently Asked Questions

About your carbon footprint

What's a carbon footprint?

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by your actions. This is typically measured in terms of kilograms of carbon dioxide (kg CO₂).

Though you can't see it, everyone has a carbon footprint. Everything you buy, every journey you make, every meal you eat has a certain amount of emissions associated with it. Together these add up to give you your unique carbon footprint.

What does it mean to go carbon neutral?

To be carbon neutral is to have a net carbon footprint of zero. That means you are adding no more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The only way to reach carbon neutral is by reducing your emissions as much as you can by making sustainable lifestyle choices, and then 'offsetting' the rest of your footprint via donations to projects that either prevent carbon emissions or remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

Why does all this matter?

Greenhouse gas emissions pollute our air and cause global warming by trapping heat within our atmosphere. This causes an increased risk of wildfires, flooding, and other extreme weather, as well as higher rates of respiratory disease.

The climate crisis is the biggest threat the planet has ever faced, and the effects are already proving to be devastating. Even the most conservative estimates predict the loss of countless species and entire habitats, as well as hundreds of thousands of human lives, to natural disasters over the coming decades.

Understanding your carbon footprint is a key step towards taking responsibility for your impact on the climate and learning how best to reduce your emissions. For more on why individual action is important, check out our blog post: The Power of the Individual in Effective Climate Action

About how Minimum works

How do you calculate my carbon footprint?

Your carbon footprint is directly determined by your spending activity. Minimum shows you your carbon footprint in real-time, by automatically tracking your spending and by calculating the carbon footprint of all your activities using a range of datasets and algorithms.

To connect with your accounts, we use Open Banking APIs. These are provided and managed by your banks as part of European legislation. We connect to them through our partnership with Plaid.

Your survey responses help us to refine our calculations and give you a more accurate picture of your carbon footprint.

There's more information on our How it Works page.

How accurate is the carbon footprint you have calculated for me?

While we can generate a carbon footprint estimate for you from your survey responses alone, the best way to improve the accuracy of your carbon footprint is to connect your bank account(s) to your Minimum profile.

If you use multiple bank accounts, make sure you have linked each of them to your Minimum profile, as that will help us build a full picture of your emissions.

About account security and data protection

What do you use my transaction data for?

Protecting your data privacy is non-negotiable for us. Minimum is regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, and as such you can find us on the FCA register.

When it comes to your data, we promise:

- We will use your purchase history only to estimate your CO2 footprint and nothing else

- We will never sell or rent your data to anyone, for any reason, at any time

- We never have direct access to your account or login credentials, and you can withdraw our access to your data at any time

We have access to your transaction data for the purpose of calculating your carbon footprint. Our algorithm sorts the transactions into categories (e.g. train journeys, supermarket shops, financial products) and we then use the categorised data combined with your survey answers to produce a carbon footprint estimate.

We never have access to your account details, and we never have the ability to make payments or move money. Our algorithm is the only thing that ever sees your transactions; no human ever looks through the transactions themselves.

How do you connect with my account?

To connect with your accounts, we use Open Banking APIs. These are provided and managed by your banks as part of European legislation. We connect to them through our partnership with Plaid. Plaid is also a partner for several familiar financial planning apps, such as Expensify, Cleo and Transferwise.

Google your bank name + 'Open Banking' to see their descriptions of the Open Banking process, or follow the links below:

Is Minimum secure?

The protection of your data is our highest priority.

Minimum uses state-of-the-art security measures when handling your information. All connections between your device, our servers and your banks are protected using TLS 256-bit encryption. When requesting statements from your financial institutions, bank-level security with read only access is utilised. This means your login credentials are never stored on our servers, and we never have access to make any changes to your accounts.

Everything Minimum and Plaid does to obtain, process and store your data is compliant with GDPR.

About offsetting with Minimum

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting involves donating a sum of money to a project that either prevents greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere (such as constructing a solar plant) or removes emissions from the atmosphere (such as large-scale tree planting).

Effective offsetting requires someone to calculate the amount of emissions produced by the action you are trying to offset, and the monetary cost of offsetting those emissions.

You can read more about carbon offsetting in our blog post: What is Carbon Offsetting? And how can I do it properly?

Is carbon offsetting the right thing to do?

It’s important to remember that offsetting alone isn’t a solution to the climate crisis. Offsetting should not prevent companies or individuals from trying to reduce their emissions or seeking practical solutions to environmental problems.

Realistically, however, our current trajectory means carbon offsets will have to be part of our strategy to tackle climate change if we’re to have any hope of meeting the Paris agreement targets. As such, it’s important that individuals understand how to find effective, sustainable offsetting projects to support.

You can read about the projects we have selected to support here.

How can we be sure our carbon offsetting projects are making a difference?

We believe that ensuring the integrity of offsetting projects is key. In the past, project transparency was often limited, it has been difficult for people to be sure what sort of impact they are really making, and trust that they are achieving the environmental benefit they are paying for.

That’s why it’s important to choose offsetting projects or programs that have been subject to independent verification. At Minimum, all of the projects that we support have been independently verified either by Gold Standard or Plan Vivo.

We also have our own four key criteria for offsetting projects to meet:

  1. Verifiable - Projects should be independently verified and able to be spot-checked at any time.
  2. Quantifiable impact - Ongoing measurements have to accurately evidence emission reductions before benefits can be claimed.
  3. Additional - Emission reductions would only be possible with the project funding.
  4. Sustainable - All projects must be underpinned by a sound economic model.

For more details on our criteria click here, and for more details on the projects we support, visit our Projects page.

What are Minimum's personal offsetting plans?

Our plans are designed to allow you to offset your carbon emissions, effortlessly.

Once you've decided which of our offsetting projects you'd like to contribute to, you need to decide how much of your emissions you would like to offset.

Because your emissions vary from week-to-week, the amount you would need to donate to offset your emissions changes too. Our technology measures your carbon footprint in real-time, allowing you to offset exactly what you are responsible for on weekly basis.

We understand that everyone is tackling the climate crisis in their own way, and that offsets are a better solution for some than others. If you do want to offset, we want to give you flexibility in how you do so.

How often will you charge me?

If you choose one of our plans, you will be automatically charged every week from the date you sign up.

Am I spending a fixed amount each week?

No. Your spend will vary depending on your carbon footprint that week. If you emit less CO₂ one week, you will pay less to offset your emissions. If you emit more CO₂ one week, your offsetting spend will increase so that you are still neutralising the same proportion of your emissions.

Can I set a spending limit?

Yes. To set a spending limit simply toggle 'Set a weekly cap' and input your desired maximum weekly spend on offsets.

We will never charge you for offsets above your weekly cap.

If your emission levels are consistently above what your spending cap will cover, it is likely that you will offset a smaller portion of your carbon footprint than targeted in your plan. You can always see how much you've offset by going to the Settings page.

What if I want to change or cancel my plan?

You can change the details of your plan at any time by emailing info@minimum.eco. You can change the offsetting project you choose to support, the amount you would like to offset, and your spending limit.

You cancel your plan at any time by emailing info@minimum.eco.

About Minimum

Is Minimum a non-profit?

Minimum is not a non-profit. We are a mission-driven company, with a laser-focus on tackling climate change. We believe that a sustainable business model is the most effective way to attract the investment we need in order to create a solution that can make a tangible difference in the fight against climate change.

How does Minimum make money?

Currently, Minimum is funded by a commission on donations to offsetting projects made through our platform. The commission fee primarily covers the cost of administering the donations, and our ability to support a development team. It effectively allows us to offer our carbon footprint tracking capabilities to everyone for free, and also funds our efforts to raise awareness of climate change and its consequences (check out our work on Instagram and Facebook).

The current commission level is 20%.

Minimum is currently not profitable, so taking a commission on offsets is the only way we can invest to build the best product possible, something we hope will make a difference in the fight against climate change.

Is Minimum available on the app store?

Minimum is not yet available on the app store. However, you can sign up for our waitlist here.

In which countries is Minimum currently available?

Anyone can download Minimum for an initial estimate of their carbon footprint, but our solution currently works best for those who primarily use a UK bank account.