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New MasterCard Rewards with Nike Carbon Offsets, Tracks Footprint Reduction

Image Credit: Sustain:Green

Sustain:Green has created a new biodegradable MasterCard® rewards card, which provides carbon offsets for everyday purchases — specifically, helping to fund Nike’s Mata no Peito rainforest preservation projects in Brazil.

To reward cardholders, Sustain:Green offsets 2 pounds of their carbon footprint for every dollar in net merchandise purchases. On the card’s first use, an additional 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide is eliminated on the cardholder’s behalf. Card users can also calculate their carbon footprint and track their reduction through a personal online dashboard. All carbon offset purchases and retirement on behalf of cardholders are recorded transparently on the American Carbon Registry and are verified by the non-profit Winrock International.

Businesses can track the collective carbon reduction of cardholders within their organization through the online dashboard and non-profit organizations can anonymously track similar data of their members.

In 2006, Nike spearheaded a new voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction project to replace the gas in the airbags in its athletic shoes. The airbags were originally filled with sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a greenhouse gas 22,200 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. After extensive research, Nike replaced the SF6 with nitrogen and made large investments in retooling its manufacturing facility to accompany the change.

The project reduced millions of tons of carbon dioxide, producing carbon offsets registered on the nonprofit American Carbon Registry (ACR). Nike makes use of those carbon offsets through the Mata no Peito coalition. Nike offsets will be sold and retired on behalf of individuals and corporations seeking to voluntarily offset their carbon footprints through the American Carbon Registry. Sustain:Green is one of those companies whose offsets are being purchased specifically from this bucket of offsets to fund Nike’s Brazilian Mata no Peito preservation project.

Offsetting one ton of carbon dioxide brings an additional $664 in benefits to the communities where carbon reduction projects are based, according to research released late last year by Imperial College London and the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA). The report shows how purchasing carbon credits creates economic development opportunities, aids environmental conservation and helps improve people’s lives by delivering household savings, health benefits and improving water resources, among other social benefits.

Last year, United Airlines launched a business tool for corporate cargo customers to track and offset the emissions associated with their air freight accounts. Carbon Choice allows cargo customers with large-scale, regular shipments to receive customized emissions reports with simple options to offset their company's carbon footprint through United’s partner, Sustainable Travel International (STI). The airline introduced the tool to allow cargo customers to more easily incorporate carbon-neutral business practices into their overall corporate strategy.

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Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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