Swinburne partners with eco fintech Sphere For Good to drive carbon neutral digital payments

Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with Sphere For Good, a new Australian eco fintech driving climate action through digital payments.

The partnership combines Sphere For Good’s leading payment analytics technology with Swinburne’s world-class research capabilities, to help individuals understand the carbon impacts of their purchases, and reduce and offset emissions in real time.

As a strategic research partner, Swinburne will provide expertise to Sphere for Good in both digital innovation and ecology, harnessing the power of AI for a net zero future.

The university’s partnership will see the eco fintech become part of the Swinburne Ventures Limited portfolio, with a commitment to ongoing research and development activities.

Researchers from Swinburne’s Digital Innovation Lab and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) will develop new AI and machine learning algorithms for carbon estimation to augment the eco fintech’s software, offering cutting-edge knowledge in software engineering, AI and machine learning, data science and analytics, and human-centered interaction and design.

Swinburne experts will also advise Sphere For Good on the quality of carbon offsets, focusing on high-quality projects where consumers can invest to offset their carbon emissions.

A technological force for good

Sphere For Good’s products aim to educate consumers about the carbon impacts of their individual spending, at a time when global net zero ambitions demand credible action at scale.

By calculating the carbon emissions of everyday transactions, the platform provides consumers with an accurate estimation of their carbon usage, advice about how to reduce emissions, and options to make micro-investments in carbon reduction projects.

The products use an award-winning card payments analytics technology developed in Australia and are embedded into existing digital payment flows and delivered via mobile banking apps, merchant apps or at merchant check-outs.

Swinburne’s Vice-President of Innovation and Enterprise, Dr Werner van der Merwe, says the partnership with Sphere For Good highlights the critical role of technology ventures in driving sustainability.

“Swinburne is defined by digital innovation and future-focused research that brings people and technology together for a better world. In partnership with Sphere, we’re proud to be a technological force for good, using state-of-the-art tech and research to drive sustainability impact at scale,” Dr van der Merwe says.

Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Karen Hapgood, says the new partnership aligns strongly with the university’s Innovative Planet and Digital Capability flagship research areas.

“Our researchers will help deliver social and environmental impact through smart digital products that show the links between consumption and carbon emissions,” Professor Hapgood says.

“Using new AI-based methods to drive sustainability, our Digital Innovation Lab and ADM+S will improve estimates of carbon emissions from consumer spending, behavioural patterns and transaction data. We’ll also offer leadership in selecting best practice carbon offsets to drive genuine change on the path to net zero.”

Sphere For Good CEO & Founder, Mr Jeroen van Son, says the company empowers consumers to live a carbon neutral life, bridging the gap between spending habits and environmental impact.

“Giving people options to live a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as opportunities to offset the impact of their consumption, will create a better, more sustainable tomorrow,” Mr van Son says.

“Having access to Swinburne’s digital innovation capabilities and sustainability expertise will be invaluable in ensuring only the most robust carbon offset projects are available for consumers to invest in.”

The technology will first be offered to consumers via banks and merchant apps, with several Asian banks already signed up.

Sphere For Good is also partnering with Visa’s APAC & CEMEA regions, proving potential access to more than 200 million consumers in 100 markets.

/University Public Release. View in full here.