Mastercard and partners launch Priceless Planet Coalition
by Ben Poole
Mastercard has announced the launch of the Priceless Planet Coalition, a platform that it says is to unite corporate sustainability efforts and make meaningful investments to preserve the environment.
Together with partners who share a commitment to doing well by doing good, the Priceless Planet Coalition is pledging to plant 100 million trees over five years. Founding partners in the coalition include Citibank, Santander UK, IHS Markit, bunq, Saks Fifth Avenue, L.L. Bean, New York Metropolitan Transport Agency, Transport for London, and American Airlines, with more to be announced.
It is crucial for companies to help reduce carbon emissions by investing in energy efficient workplaces and operations, sourcing renewable energy and maintaining a sustainable supply chain. But the responsibility for business today extends far beyond their own efforts. Mastercard believes the private sector can do more and make real impact by combining efforts and engaging consumers.
“No matter who you are or what you do, climate change affects you,” said Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer of Mastercard. “But, it has the biggest negative impact on those who are socially and economically vulnerable. The time for just negating our environmental footprint has passed. Our best chance at changing the course we’re on and setting us all up for better futures is for companies and consumers to pull in the same direction towards a shared goal, real change can happen,”
Core to their own missions, these partners have for a long time placed significant emphasis on their own sustainability efforts. The goal of this initiative is to deliver a true network effect, where collaboration makes the value of the whole greater than the sum of its parts, enabling the entire ecosystem to benefit.
Mastercard and its customers reach nearly 3 billion consumer and corporate cardholders. One of the key elements of this new commitment is empowering these people to act. Partnerships like that between Mastercard and Doconomy help people to make informed, climate-friendly choices, and make it simple, fast and easy to make contributions to the climate cause.
Empowering corporations and consumers
Participating companies will continue to implement their own sustainability strategies, as well as collaborate across the coalition for joint campaigns. Mastercard’s corporate card customers will be able to contribute to the coalition’s forestation initiatives worldwide whenever and wherever their employees use their cards for travel, goods and services. This complements these businesses’ own environmental sustainability goals and enables their employees to actively support these commitments through the business purchases they make. Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions will be Mastercard’s first issuer partner in promoting this initiative with its corporate customers, with IHS Markit, a London-based global information provider, as the first corporation to participate.
Interested financial institutions, merchants, consumers, and digital partners from around the world are invited to join in this effort and engage consumers and employees to contribute to the tree planting program. Mastercard’s global payment infrastructure provides additional ways for cardholders to contribute, like ‘round-up’ campaigns at a range of leading retailers, allowing consumers to add a tree-planting donation at the point-of-sale.
Trees are one of the critical networks on which the earth runs. Current levels of carbon emissions, use of natural resources and pollution are exceeding limits that are environmentally sustainable or safe. In turn, people across the globe see and feel these realities affecting their communities today and potentially for generations to come.
It is recognised that natural climate solution and in particular tree planting programs are an effective mechanism to respond to climate change. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), limiting the rise in average temperature to the critical target of 1.5C by 2030 requires an extra 1bn hectares of trees.
Large scale reforestation programmes need to be executed carefully, with consideration given to a number of factors including local climate, adverse biodiversity impacts, lax or poor forest management practices, unintended future deforestation, risk of reversal, and unintended social impacts. Mastercard has selected global environmental organisations Conservation International and World Resources Institute (WRI) to lead the tree planting efforts. The organisations were selected based on their science-based and holistic approach to reforestation and their successful track record.
Working closely with local and indigenous communities, Conservation International has protected or restored over 6 million square kilometres of land and sea across more than 70 countries. With experts and staff in place in 29 countries and 2,000 partners worldwide, Conservation International will implement and ensure the project’s long-term success. WRI will bring sound science, robust monitoring practices and a landscape approach to the project. WRI will leverage a global network of financial, technical and government partners through platforms like AFR100 and Initiative 20x20 and will collaborate with partner One Tree Planted to direct on-the-ground resources to each stage of the planting process and provide project reporting and quality storytelling.
As the climate continues to change, remediation mechanisms may also need to change and advances in science may present new opportunities. In order to ensure that Mastercard’s efforts are informed and remain appropriate, the company is appointing an Advisory Committee. These experts will inform and guide the programme, bringing the benefit of the latest scientific data and insights.
“As one of the world’s leading financial services companies, Citi is working to incorporate sustainability principles into everything we do to help ensure business success contributes to a strong global economy,” said Gonca Latif-Schmitt, managing director, global head of Commercial Cards at Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions. “A critical part of this work involves delivering client-focused solutions that have the potential to achieve a global impact on the sustainability challenges facing the world. With that in mind, Citi Commercial Cards is excited to work with Mastercard on the Priceless Planet Coalition to help us execute under a singular effort for a greater impact.”
“We’re committed to being a responsible bank and are excited to be joining forces with a partner that shares our common vision for a better world,” said Matt Hall, head of Customer Solutions at Santander UK. “In order to effectively respond to the climate crisis we need everyone to take action and work together to find solutions, and this partnership with Mastercard is an important step in the right direction.”
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