The Priceless Planet Coalition has a target of restoring 100 million tress across the world – aiding it achieve this, Mastercard, the global payments company, has expanded its reforestation work to include 15 new restoration projects, for a total of 18 globally.
Consumer desire to support initiatives that drive positive change for the environment is growing around the world; according to the Mastercard Economics Institute, consumer donations to environmentally-focused charities grew 48.4 per cent globally in 2022 when compared to pre-pandemic 2019 levels, overall outpacing donation growth to other organisations.
The project portfolio of the Priceless Planet Coalition includes a diverse geographical representation, with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Malawi, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates among the sites in Mastercard’s Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
Reforestation is widely acknowledged as one of the most impactful and cost-effective ways to positively counteract climate change. The Priceless Planet Coalition is not only focused on planting trees, but on re-growing forests in places with the greatest need and the most potential to have positive impact on climate, community and biodiversity goals. Guided by its restoration partners, Conservation International and World Resources Institute, the Coalition employs science-based best practices to identify new project sites, select the appropriate tree species and ensure long-term forest health through ongoing monitoring, while also providing economic opportunities for local communities.
In Madagascar, which will serve as the region’s flagship project, the tree restoration target is two million. In Malawi, 1.25 million trees are planned, and in Democratic Republic of Congo 1 million. Restoration of a total of 890,400 trees is already underway in Kenya’s Makuli-Nzaui landscape of Makueni County, with community-led work supported by the Green Belt Movement, founded by Nobel Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai.
Kenya was among the first three projects announced when Mastercard formed the Priceless Planet Coalition. In the UAE, which has the largest mangrove coverage in the Middle East, two years of active mangrove restoration will be implemented with Emirates Nature-WWF, who joined as the Coalition’s local implementation partner.
“The Priceless Planet Coalition is focused on addressing the urgent global climate crisis by restoring the right trees in the right places,” says Jorn Lambert, chief digital officer, Mastercard. “By collaborating with our global network of Coalition partners, we are able to further scale our forest restoration work and create collective action for the planet.”
Other locations are in Asia Pacific (Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Philippines); Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala); Europe (France, Portugal, Spain and Scotland); and North America (Mexico, United States). The restoration in Mexico, Madagascar and the Atlantic Forest in Brazil will serve as flagship projects that have greater capacity for future restoration. The expansion builds on the Coalition’s existing planting progress underway in Australia, Kenya and the Amazon in Brazil.
Uniting in climate action
The Priceless Planet Coalition unites companies, communities and consumers in climate action and now includes more than 100 partners globally, including sustainably minded merchants, fintechs and global banks. Each partner is helping to fund the forest restoration through consumer engagement and donation campaigns that encourage people to take climate-friendly actions or make direct contributions through a donation platform. Recent partners to join the Coalition include Expo 2020 Dubai, Siemens Software, Emirates NBD, Network International, HSBC and Premier Bank Somalia. Emirates Nature-WWF is the implementation partner in the UAE with Faja Lobi in DRC, Wells for Zoë in Malawi and Conservation International Madagascar in Madagascar.
“There’s growing acknowledgement that investing in the preservation and restoration of the natural world around us is critical also to tackling climate change,” says Bo Lidegaard, historian, diplomat, former climate change negotiator, and advisor to the Coalition. “The Priceless Planet Coalition is designed in a way to maximise impact for the planet, rooted firmly in the best science and quality planning and monitoring.”
Building a sustainable digital economy
Through innovation and trusted partnerships, Mastercard is committed to building a more inclusive and sustainable world with a digital economy that works for everyone, everywhere. The company accelerated its net zero timeline to 2040 and recently expanded its compensation model for all employees, linking it to three priorities across Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Through its Global Sustainability Innovation Lab, Mastercard is also developing a range of products to enable more sustainable commerce, as well as services to help its customers bring more eco-conscious solutions to consumers around the world.