Press Release

Funding Environmental Charities With Credit Card Rewards

Our planet has reached extreme levels of environmental degradation, and our air, oceans, and wildlife are in grave danger. The earth is set to be 2° Celsius warmer by 2036. This may sound small, but this temperature change means that ocean levels will rise, thousands of species will go extinct, and hundreds of millions of people will become climate refugees. 
To combat the climate crisis, we must act collectively and with urgency.


The proposed Eco Rewards card is a social purpose alternative to traditional rewards cards.

The card has a proposed rewards rate of 1.20%, with 0.60% as cashback and the other 0.60% automatically donated to a consortium of environmental nonprofits.

SEAL’s market research – including survey responses from 3,003 consumers – showed strong interest:

  • 54% of respondents would likely or very likely sign-up for the card
  • 96% of likely sign-ups would refer the card to family and friends
  • 62% of very likely sign-ups indicated they would make Eco Rewards their #1 most used card

Clearly consumers are willing to “give up” half of their rewards because Eco Rewards addresses different, higher psychological needs: simply, Eco Rewards allows you to feel you are part of the solution to climate change.

“Not everyone can go work for Greenpeace or become the next Greta Thunberg, but anyone can use a sustainable rewards card,” commented Matt Harney, SEAL’s Founder.


SEAL estimates the Eco Reward card would donate over $700 million annually:

  • Equivalent to 12 times Greenpeace’s annual funding
  • Would represent the world’s largest environmental charity, with a net present value in excess of Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion climate fund
  • Would represent an incremental, more stable source of charitable funding that is less dependent on whims of mega-donors or stock market values

Eco Rewards users would be able to choose the organizations and causes to which their donations are allocated. This new, much-needed funding stream would be used in areas like preserving rainforests, protecting oceans, and supporting cutting-edge research and technologies.


Compared to the mature, intensely competitive traditional card market, the Eco Rewards opportunity is very attractive:

  • A large and growing addressable market with 66% of the U.S. concerned about climate change
  • Higher profitability due to improved customer mix and lower marketing costs (especially via referrals)
  • Represents an opportunity to build a brand that is synonymous with “helping the environment with every swipe”

SEAL estimates at scale the Eco Rewards card would generate over $110 billion in purchase volume (comparable to the American Express’ Delta or Citi Costco card franchises) and over $1.1 billion of pre-tax profit to the issuer.

“This is an exceptionally rare social purpose opportunity that also creates a sizeable and growing profit pool,” commented Harney. “This is the right card, at the right moment, for the right cause. We hope the right institution and the right executives seize on this opportunity to leave a legacy of true leadership.”

The open-sourced Eco Rewards business case is available at

SEAL has requested that the largest credit card issuers – American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Citi, Discover, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo – announce their decision whether to pursue an Eco Rewards-like card by Q1 2021.

Consumers can register for early access to the Eco Rewards card at


SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement & Leadership) Awards is an environmental advocacy organization that honors leadership through our business sustainability awards & environmental journalism awards while funding research and pursuing our own impact campaigns like Eco Rewards.


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