Finnish bank tackles climate change with bio-degradable credit cards

Finland’s Bank of Aland is taking a payments approach to tackling climate change by introducing a biologically degradable credit card that not only let users see the average carbon footprint of their consumption, it also gives them the option to make up for the footprint of their purchases.

The card, called the Baltic Sea Card, is part of the bank’s Baltic Sea Project to explore smart ideas and how they can be used to better the environment.

“We also wanted to give our customers the opportunity to contribute to the environment through their daily choices. Only if we all get involved will we be able to save the Baltic Sea,” said Peter Wiklöf, CEO of Ålandsbanken.

The card users will receive environmental reports onto the mobile app or their internet bank account. When they make a payment they will also have an opportunity to counter-balance for their estimated carbon footprint.

The environmental report is based on the unique Aland Index, developed by the bank. The Aland Index covers every retailer’s specific merchant category code from MasterCard, which is cross-referenced with financial market data on the carbon footprint of these industries and reviewed by KPMG. The bank says this makes it possible to calculate the carbon footprint of every individual transaction, thereby enabling carbon offsetting and changes in behavior.

The bank will begin replacing their existing credit cards in Finland and Åland with the new Baltic Sea Card. During this year the cards will also be automatically linked to the Aland Index.

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