- New study of consumers in 24 countries shows the pandemic is prompting billions to consider more sustainable behaviors
- A large proportion of adults (85%) state they’re willing to take personal action to combat environmental and sustainability issues in 2021
- New Mastercard feature enables banks to equip people with carbon footprint data and insights to help inform consumer spending and offer ways to contribute to reforestation
New research on sustainability, commissioned by Mastercard, reveals a marked increase in consumer passion for the environment as a result of COVID-19. More than half of those surveyed across the world (54%) see reducing their carbon footprint as more important now than pre-pandemic. This signals a growing trend toward eco-conscious spending and consumption among people who want to turn their purchases and rewards redemption into meaningful action for the planet.
To address this, Mastercard, in collaboration with Swedish fintech Doconomy, developed the Mastercard Carbon Calculator. Now integrated across Mastercard’s global network, this feature is easy for banks to adopt and customize for eco-conscious consumers who are looking for more ways to be informed about their spending. It provides access to insights and data about carbon impact and enables people to easily contribute to preserving the environment.
“Companies, consumers and communities must work together to make the significant changes needed to effectively address climate change,” said Jorn Lambert, Chief Digital Officer, Mastercard. “The Mastercard Carbon Calculator informs consumers about the carbon footprint of their purchases, so that they can make more mindful spending decisions and contribute to forest restoration. By embedding sustainability into the very fabric of our business, we can unlock the power of our network, reaching billions of consumers and partners, to create positive change for the environment. This builds on the creation last year of the Priceless Planet Coalition, which unites businesses and consumers to restore 100 million trees.”
The Carbon Calculator enables consumers to receive a snapshot of the carbon emissions generated by their purchases across spending categories. The calculations are powered by the independently verified Åland Index and can be further enhanced with relatable and easy-to-understand equivalents (such as the number of trees required to absorb the same amount of CO2), and tips about living more sustainably. Consumers also have the option to contribute to forest restoration projects of the Priceless Planet Coalition – whether by donating (using Mastercard Donate APIs) or using banks’ loyalty rewards programs. Banks can seamlessly integrate the Carbon Calculator into their mobile apps through new APIs that are now available on Mastercard Developers.
“By engaging a whole industry in enabling individual insights as well as collective action, Mastercard has redefined the role the financial industry can play every day in tackling the climate crisis,” said Mathias Wikström, Chief Executive Officer, Doconomy. “When others are talking of the importance of ESG, Mastercard is putting it to work at the fingertips of the consumer.”
Consumers are increasingly conscious of their own actions and those of brands.
Over half of those surveyed globally (54%) see reducing their carbon footprint as more important now, and almost three in five (58%) have become more conscious about how their actions can impact the environment than ever before, with Gen Z and Millennials (65%) leading this trend. However, as consumers become more aware of their own actions, more than three in five (62%) believe that companies should behave in more sustainable and eco-friendly ways since COVID-19, with Gen Z also leading this shift (65%).
The trend toward more conscious consumption has grown over the last decade. However, changes in attitudes and actions have increased rapidly as a result of COVID-19. As consumers across the globe call on companies and brands to behave in more sustainable and eco-friendly ways, global respondents also revealed that reducing waste (37%), reducing air and water pollution (35%), and tackling the issue of plastic pollution in packaging and products (35%) are the top three issues they want companies and brands to focus on, in addition to dealing with the pandemic. Being more aware of purchases is also one of the top changes that people will make as a result from COVID-19 (42%).
Mastercard is equipping its global network to be a positive force for the environment.
Ahead of Earth Day on April 22, the Priceless Planet Coalition will be activating several sustainability-related campaigns to contribute to the goal of restoring 100 million trees:
- First Hawaiian Bank is embedding sustainability rewards into its loyalty program, with additional bank partners to follow in the coming months. Cardholders can put their reward points to good use by redeeming them for growing new trees.
- Recognizing the importance of social media in creating awareness and advocacy for the environment among consumers, starting April 15, Mastercard will launch a campaign on TikTok and Instagram in the U.S., U.K., Germany and the Netherlands to encourage people to plant a tree for a friend to celebrate the planet. The company will match donations when people use their Mastercard.
- From April 22 to May 3, Mastercard cardholders in the US will be able to bid on a selection of curated, Priceless experiences spanning passions from dining to golf, from celebrity encounters to the great outdoors and much more. All auction proceeds will benefit the Priceless Planet Coalition’s forest restoration projects.
The Priceless Planet Coalition continues to expand and now includes more than 50 members. The most recent partners to join include: Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, ekko, Fair Square Financial, GLS Bank, Hellenic Bank, JetBlue, Paybox Bank, Pebble Beach Resorts, PGA Tour, and UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group.
In addition to the Carbon Calculator, Mastercard offers other environmentally focused products and services, such as cards made from sustainable materials to reduce plastic waste. The company has also pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050, building on existing commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aligned with 1.5-degrees Celsius. Mastercard has also issued a $600 million sustainability bond and recently announced changes to its executive compensation model to help accelerate progress around three global ESG goals: carbon neutrality, financial inclusion and gender pay parity. This is all in support of the company’s goal of building a more sustainable and inclusive digital economy.