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How to Use the Goodside Real-Time Carbon Tracker App

Your guide to how Goodside works, and how using the app can help you make meaningful and measurable impacts in the fight against climate change.
Posted on
May 25, 2022
How to Use the Goodside Real-Time Carbon Tracker App

Congratulations on being one of the first invitees to try Goodside!

This app is designed to help people who are concerned about their environmental impact live more sustainably. We're excited for you to give it a go! 

After surveying and interviewing hundreds of people, we found that many were eager to take climate action, but weren’t sure where to begin. The Goodside app helps you get started by showing you the environmental impact of your purchases, allowing you to make better buying decisions. 

As one of our first users, you can help us improve by:

  • Connecting the app to your credit card(s) to measure and track your carbon footprint
  • Inviting your friends to use the app 
  • Sharing your thoughts and feedback with us at hello@joingoodside.com. We’ll be leaning on your insights as we continue to refine the experience and add features. 
It’s up to all of us—governments, corporations and individuals—to work collectively to fight climate change, and we’re aiming to make the Goodside app a key resource along the way. 

Not signed up yet?

Download the app by scanning the QR code below and signing up with your RBC email address.

Scan the QR code to download the Goodside app

Curious about how Goodside works? Read on to learn how to make the most of the app. 

How the Goodside app works 

Goodside helps you make more sustainable spending and lifestyle choices. The app links securely to your credit card account to track your purchases and give you insight into the carbon impact of your spending, right down to the dollar. 

Calculating your estimated carbon footprint

Say you buy a T-shirt from a major sportswear brand. Goodside analyzes that transaction to determine the spending category the brand falls under (apparel, in this case). Then it accesses corporate sustainability information related to the brand’s parent company. From there, it calculates the carbon emissions associated with your purchase and gives you sustainability insights related to that corporation (if that info is available in the dataset Goodside pulls from).


A view of three screens within the app looking at your spending and emissions


Consider linking Goodside to all the credit cards you use to make purchases. The more you track in the app, the more accurate the snapshot of your carbon footprint. 

If you’re concerned about privacy, rest easy. Goodside is owned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), which has a long and trusted track record for keeping its customers’ financial data safe. Your information will only be used to help you learn more about the companies you’re buying from and get useful insights on your purchases.

Your information is secure

If you’re concerned about privacy, rest easy. Goodside is owned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), which has a long and trusted track record for keeping its customers’ financial data safe. Your information will only be used to help you learn more about the companies you’re buying from and get useful insights on your purchases.

Aerial view of clouds and wind turbines
Photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash

How to do M.O.R.E. for sustainable living

Curbing climate change goes way beyond number-crunching. Knowing your impact is only the first step toward living a more sustainable lifestyle. 

At Goodside, our approach to sustainability is motivated by positive action and creates real, meaningful, measurable change. We call it the M.O.R.E. model, and it stands for:

  • Measure (your footprint, that is)
  • Offset (your carbon emissions)
  • Reduce (your environmental impact)
  • Educate (yourself and others!)

Making it easier to make eco-friendly choices

The app makes it easy for you to integrate M.O.R.E. into your daily life. First, it helps you measure the carbon emissions from your purchases. Then it shows you a list of reputable carbon offset projects you can contribute funds to, which can help you offset a portion of those emissions—or go fully carbon-neutral.

When you purchase from a publicly-traded company, you can see details about its sustainability, including if it has committed to science-based targets and how its emissions stack up against others in the same industry.

To motivate you to keep reducing your impact, the app gives you a score out of 100. You can improve it by adjusting your spending and lifestyle habits, and contributing to carbon offsets. 

A hand holding a phone with the Goodside app screen showing a user's score

Want to get even M.O.R.E. out of the Goodside app? 

We have tons of fun educational climate change and sustainability guides and articles on living sustainably. You can share what you’ve learned—and the projects you’ve supported—on social media to help inform and inspire your friends.

MEASURE — The Goodside Score 

How is my Goodside Score calculated?

The Goodside Score is a 0 to 100 rating that gives you a monthly snapshot of your progress. It’s calculated based on three factors: 

  1. Your overall footprint, based on your purchases 
  2. The estimated carbon emissions per dollars spent 
  3. The sustainability performance of the companies you shop with

Your results are then compared with those of other app users to figure out your score.

What can I do to improve my score?

Easy! Make fewer carbon-intensive purchases and support more sustainable companies. 

OFFSET — Goodside projects

What is a carbon offset?

Put simply, carbon offsets help balance out your carbon footprint by reducing emissions in other parts of the ecosystem. The easiest (and probably most common) example is trees: Forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so contributing to forestry-preservation and -restoration initiatives can help counteract emissions related to your everyday purchases and activities. 

There are lots of different options to choose from. You might also want to reduce emissions by contributing to clean energy tech, which can help transition away from more emissions-intensive sources. 

Why should I offset my carbon footprint?

If you’ve followed us so far, you might know that modern daily life comes at an environmental cost. Your takeout breakfast sandwich and the packaging it comes in, the electricity and heating in your home, the data servers that host the online shops that you idly browse on your laptop, your laptop itself—all of these things subtly increase your carbon footprint. 

All in, the average American creates about 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (or CO2e) emissions per month. That’s the equivalent of consuming 169 barrels of gas, or about 7,098 gallons. Per month. 

Some of it is avoidable; much of it is inevitable (you’ve got to stay warm and fed, right?). But instead of going fully off the grid, you can use the app to reduce your avoidable carbon emissions and offset the rest through Goodside’s project partners. 

This will help you get closer to neutralizing your carbon footprint, and enable communities participating in these projects to be healthy, sustainable and, eventually, self-sufficient

How much does it cost to become carbon neutral?

Remember how we said that the average American emits 1.5 tonnes of CO2e emissions monthly? (Note that the actual amount per person differs, based on purchases, personal habits, family size, where you live and other lifestyle factors.) If you wanted to offset those emissions, you could pay about $10 a month to a forestry initiative to help sequester one tonne of carbon away from the atmosphere. 

You could also go big and put $625 monthly into innovative new carbon capture technology, which would pull carbon from emissions-dense areas and store it deep underground. 

The Goodside app makes it easy to determine just how much you would need to offset to reach carbon-neutral. It also gives you options to support offset projects directly—whatever your budget.

What carbon offset projects can I invest in through Goodside?

Goodside offers a range of options at different price points. Your money could go toward preserving rainforests in Indonesia or old-growth forests in Alaska; or it could support wind energy initiatives in China. 

You could also invest in solar-powered heaters to distribute to households in India or replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs in homes across Madagascar. These carbon offset projects help get wind turbines running, trees planted and much more. 

Where does Goodside get its carbon offsets from?

Goodside has partnered with Patch.io, a third-party carbon offset API provider. Patch connects users with verified and reputable carbon removal projects. 

REDUCE — Goodside insights

How are emissions measured? 

Carbon dioxide is one of many greenhouse gases driving global warming. Others include methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons, and all of them have different measurable effects. 

To make it easier to report greenhouse gas emissions, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) developed the standard of using one common unit of measurement when it comes to tracking Global Warming Potential (GWP)—Carbon Dioxide Equivalent. Also known as CO2e, it takes all greenhouse gases into account, and it’s the standard of measurement we use at Goodside. 

How does Goodside calculate the CO2e for each purchase I make? 

When you buy from a large brand, chances are it’s a publicly traded company. We source corporate data from ISS ESG, our main carbon data provider. This gives us a clear picture of publicly traded companies’ self-reported sustainability targets, overall emissions, and sales volumes. 

Other times, when you purchase from smaller brands, we rely on a category average. 

How are my transactions categorized?

Transactions are grouped into one of five categories: 

  1. Transportation 
  2. Home
  3. Food & Drink 
  4. Goods
  5. Services

Note: Some categories aren’t scored by the Goodside app, such as financial and commercial transactions.

An eco-friendly bicycle and coffee shop
Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash

How do I find out the environmental commitments and sustainability efforts of the brands I’m purchasing from?

Goodside has sourced profiles of most major publicly traded companies. To help you understand a publicly traded company’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, each transaction screen tells you whether the company has a science-based sustainability target, whether it reports its emissions and whether its emissions rank higher or lower than the industry average. 

Where does Goodside get its information from?

As we mentioned, Goodside gets company profiles from ISS ESG, the sustainable-investment arm of the global investment advisory firm ISS. They’re in the business of researching companies, and provide summaries of various organizations’ environmental commitments and emissions. 

Goodside also uses data from governmental sources, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to estimate the carbon impact of various industries across the economy.

Using these two types of data—corporate and governmental—we’re able to estimate the carbon emissions of a transaction by applying a series of techniques that analyze the merchant, the spending category, and the amount spent on that transaction. This tells you the emissions per dollar you spend on the products they sell, or industries you’re buying from.

Do you have this information for every brand?

Unfortunately, we don’t. Many brands are privately held, so we don’t have the same data on their operations. But we can still get an estimate on smaller, non-traded companies’ carbon intensity per dollar of sales by looking at industry averages that our data partners provide. 

As we continue to refine and improve Goodside, we’re working on ways to showcase smaller brands. We’re partnering with brands with sustainable practices and products, and we’ll be offering promos and links to their products. 

EDUCATE — Goodside content 

What type of content is available through Goodside?

Goodside has a trove of well-researched journalistic articles and explainers on climate change. We also feature stories on interesting offset projects and provide comprehensive guides on how to reduce carbon emissions in your everyday life. 

How will this app help me in my sustainability journey?

Knowledge is power! By understanding not just the number value of your carbon footprint but also how it’s generated, you’ll be able to build better habits into your daily life—and spend your hard-earned dollars with the future of the planet in mind. 

Plus, getting informed can help you educate the people around you on how to lead a more climate-friendly life. When you create learning opportunities for yourself, everyone around you benefits. 

Ready to start living more sustainably?

Simply download the Goodside app by scanning the QR code below, and start tracking your purchases. And don’t forget to share your feedback to hello@goodside.com and invite your friends along for the journey. 

The more people understand the true weight of their dollar when it comes to carbon emissions, the more we can all work together to create meaningful, measurable change.

Scan the QR code to download the Goodside app

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Jessica Wei
Written By
Jessica Wei

Jessica Wei is a writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in the Guardian, GQ, and the Independent. She'll sneak an anchovy into any dish she's cooking.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Ventures Inc., or its affiliates.

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