Employee Engagement

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What if we told you we could change the way 4.5 million people think about sustainability … overnight?

Hackathon winner Peter Suggitt builds an app to help you track – and lower – your carbon footprint.

In October 2019, a London team of 10 colleagues won Deutsche Bank’s “Banking on Sustainability” 24-hour hackathon. Over 1,000 global participants worked on apps to help the bank contribute towards a sustainable future. Peter Suggitt from the winning team shares his experiences.

The energy in London was palpable, with hundreds of people in the auditorium and hundreds more joining from around the world. My team had a good idea and a good strategy: I had high hopes. Our concept was Amplify, a sustainability indicator connected to purchases. So each time you make a purchase, it gives you a score. Buying local, organic fruit will boost your sustainability score but buying petrol will reduce it. This running tally highlights your carbon impact and helps you to do something about it, such as one-off contributions to carbon offsetting projects or an ongoing “roll-up” scheme that rounds your transactions up to the nearest euro and donates the difference to a climate-change project. In our mock-up, Amplify is an extension to the existing mobile banking app showing your sustainability score right next to your bank balance.

Four and a half million people use the banking app, offering the potential for immediate impact, especially if Amplify is introduced as a default function for all customers. This would show current clients that we’re serious about sustainability and potentially attract new clients for whom sustainable banking is important.

Over 24 hours, we worked to bring this idea to life, creating a prototype and pitch. Our strategy was to sell the idea rather than try to build a complete product. We wanted to show how tech can be used to solve a problem.

We pitched the idea under our tagline: “What if we told you we could change the way 4.5m people think about sustain­ability … overnight?” We only got one or two hours of sleep but it was worth it to be part of the hackathon and create something that could create a lasting change for Deutsche Bank and its current and future clients.