Priceless Planet: Investor coalition pledges to plant 100 million trees
A group of global investors, including Mastercard, Citibank and Santander UK, have launched a new coalition focused on making investments that preserve and restore the environment, starting with a pledge to plant 100 million trees in the next five years.
The Priceless Planet Coalition has made the pledge through a rewards system, which will encourage consumers to use public transport by pledging to plant trees per journey. Corporate partners of the investors, which also includes IHS Markit, bunq, Saks Fifth Avenue, L.L. Bean, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Transport for London, and American Airlines, will be able to contribute to the forestation drives every time an employee uses a Mastercard for travel, goods and services.
“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,” Mastercard’s chief executive Ajay Banga said.
“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.”
More partners of the coalition are expected to be announced and participating companies will implement their own corporate sustainability strategies. The coalition will also implement more environmental initiatives in the future.
The tree-planting campaign will be launched in partner cities around the world, including London, New York, Stockholm, Helsinki, Ankara and Barcelona.
The coalition will work with Conservation International – which has protected or restored more than six million square kilometres of land and sea across more than 70 countries – and the WRI on the forestation projects. WRI will leverage a global network of financial, technical and government partners through platforms like AFR100 and Initiative 20×20 to help with the planting process and provide reporting mechanisms.
The coalition is Mastercard’s latest venture into environmental practices. Professional services firm Accenture recently teamed with Mastercard and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a supply chain initiative that uses blockchain technology to encourage customers to "tip" small-scale growers and producers that are showcasing sustainable practices.
The new initiative, which also involves technology firm Everledger and humanitarian aid organisation Mercy Corps, aims to directly reward sustainable practices at the base of a supply chain. Blockchain and digital identity technologies are used so that when a consumer scans a product label, they can access details of how that product was made and can make a direct payment to individuals further down the supply chain.
UK tree planting
In the UK, a host of major UK water companies, local authorities and NGOs teamed on a new tree-planting initiative that will assist the delivery of a carbon-neutral water industry by 2030. The UK’s nine major water and sewerage providers, including Yorkshire Water, Anglian Water and United Utilities have committed to planting 11 million trees in order to improve the natural environment across 6,000 hectares of English land.
The National Trust has also unveiled a plan to become net-zero carbon by 2030, which features one of the UK's biggest forest expansion projects. Once planted, the trees will increase the proportion of the National Trust’s estate covered by forest from 10% to 17%
17% is notably the proportion of land across the UK which the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended should be forest if the UK is to reach its 2050 net-zero target.