Mastercard and Partners Launch Priceless Planet Coalition to Act on Climate Change

January 17, 2020 | PURCHASE, N.Y. | By Alyssa Rosenblatt

Invites consumers and companies to join in to plant 100 million trees in five years

Mastercard today announced the launch of the Priceless Planet Coalition, a platform 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 Transportation Authority, 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. 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,” said Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer of Mastercard.

“We are committed to help advance change. We have an incredible network of reach. We have an incredible network of partners. We can put them to work to help deliver positive impact for the environment in the form of a Priceless Planet Coalition,” Banga added.

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 Consumers & Corporations

Participating companies will continue to implement their own sustainability strategies, as well as collaborate across the Coalition for joint campaigns. One early initiative will see the Coalition encourage consumers to use mass transportation, rewarding public transport riders for taking journeys with the planting of a tree. The campaign will be launched in partner cities around the world, including London, New York, Stockholm, Helsinki, Ankara, Barcelona and others.

In parallel, 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 our 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.

Establishing Roots

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 recognized 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 trees1.

Large scale reforestation programs 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 organizations Conservation International and World Resources Institute (WRI) to lead the tree planting efforts. The organizations were selected based on their science-based and holistic approaches to reforestation and their successful track records.

Working closely with local and indigenous communities, Conservation International has protected or restored over 6 million square kilometers 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 program, bringing the benefit of the latest scientific data and insights.

“We believe business must play a significant role in helping the planet thrive, because economic growth cannot come at the expense of the planet. Mastercard cares about the planet, as do our partners, consumers and employees, so we're committed to using the power of our network to enable a sustainable and prosperous economy,” said Kristina Kloberdanz, chief sustainability officer, Mastercard.

1 IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, Oct. 2018

Building on A Proven Track Record

In 2013, Mastercard established the Center for Inclusive Growth to advance sustainable and equitable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center’s research and programs have underlined independent evidence that the impacts of climate change are felt particularly by the most vulnerable, making the fight against climate change an essential part of inclusive growth and, therefore, a necessary part of our “doing well by doing good” mission.


Notes to editors:

Members of the Priceless Planet Coalition had the following to say:

Gonca Latif-Schmitt, Managing Director, Global Head of Commercial Cards, Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions: “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. 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.”

Matt Hall, Head of Customer Solutions, Santander UK: “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. 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.”

Lance Uggla, Chairman and CEO of IHS Markit: “The effects of climate change are very real, and companies have a responsibility to lead by example to protect our planet. Trees play an important part in reaching the Paris Climate Accord and working with others we can have a bigger impact in achieving a more sustainable future.

Ali Niknam, founder and CEO of bunq: Together with our users we figured out an easy way for everyone to become CO2 positive. We launched the bunq Green Card that plants trees as you spend, so you can contribute to a greener world with zero effort. Naturally, we’re very excited to be a Priceless Planet Coalition founding partner.”

Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority: "The MTA is delighted that the Priceless Planet Coalition will be planting trees when New York City subway or bus customers tap to pay their fare with a Mastercard. The MTA is committed to delivering sustainable public transportation and reducing our region’s carbon footprint. This promotion will accelerate use of OMNY contactless payments and reduce the number of plastic MetroCard fare cards we produce …a win-win for transit riders and the planet.”

To learn more about Mastercard’s sustainability efforts, please visit: ard-sustainability-report-2018.pdf.


About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Alyssa Rosenblatt