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Credit: Noah Buscher

100 million trees by 2025: Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition

As consumers demand more sustainable and ethical business operations, companies can now join forces and fight climate change collaboratively through Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition.

The Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC) unites merchants, banks, cities and consumers to plant 100 million trees by 2025. It is a platform where businesses can crystallise their sustainability goals and help their consumers track their carbon footprint.

Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia at Mastercard, emphasised how the PPC looks at a specific sustainability issue: current pollution levels.

“There’s a lot of talk about the Paris Agreement and about reducing emissions, but some of the problem is the carbon dioxide that is already up there. Yes we have to embrace renewables and reduce emissions but we also have to deal with existing pollution,” said Mr Wormald.

Fighting deforestation

The PPC’s focus on deforestation was determined by research from Conservation International, World Resources Institute and the PPC’s advisory board that showed trees, in addition to innovation and renewables, were one of the most important tools against climate change.

“We engaged with the scientific community and formed an advisory board. One of the things they said was that one of the best technologies available to capture carbon is trees. If we plant 100 million trees and allow them to grow, that would go a long way to limit climate change,” said Mr Wormald.

“A lot of our partners may even be competitors, but the power of the Coalition is that they’re prepared to work together on a common objective. That’s what we’re trying to do – leveraging the power of the collective to make a bigger difference than we could do on our own.”

The PPC currently has two Australian partners, Archa and 1derful.

Oliver Kidd, CEO of Archa, is optimistic about how the PPC can help individual companies achieve their corporate sustainability goals. 

“We’ve always wanted to be carbon neutral but have been unsure how to achieve it. Our target is carbon neutrality by 2023. Partnering with Mastercard has allowed us to define our goals a bit more clearly and influence how our customers can have an impact.”

More concrete sustainability goals have also influenced Archa’s business decisions.

“There is a clear impact on suppliers that we choose, where we do business and how we structure.

Informing consumers

Although consumers express an increasing desire to see businesses act ethically and sustainably, it can often be difficult to measure or even be aware of the carbon implications of your spending habits.

Internal research from Mastercard found that 72 per cent of Millennials consciously use products and services that lower their carbon impact.

However to be more environmentally effective, these consumers must have more information about the products they are buying and using.

“For example, cut flowers are one of the highest emitting forms of products because they’re air freighted and refrigerated … and so something that looks very natural is probably one of the biggest contributors to climate change,” said Mr Wormald.

The PPC is determined to help inform consumers about their carbon footprint. 

“We’ve partnered with Doconomy, who have built an API that can plug into a customer’s banking app and then calculate the carbon footprint of an individual consumer based on what they buy,” said Mr Wormald.

“So we think that by helping people understand their own individual footprint they can then make choices on how to modify their individual impact.”

To find out more about the PPC, click here: https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/vision/corp-responsibility/priceless-planet.html

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Ann Wen

Ann Wen

Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business.

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