Mastercard is Going Green because sustainability is key to future success

Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia at Mastercard.

Mastercard revealed that implementing sustainable business practices is considered by many business leaders to be the next significant challenge faced by Australian companies in future, with 76% identifying sustainability as a critical aspect for success in their industry.

81% claimed that they are actively seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and 48% would actively avoid shopping at a business that did not source its products sustainably.

13% will only purchase from sustainable businesses by 2024. The findings highlight the risk faced by organisations that do not prioritise climate and environmental practices in 2022.

It seems the risk of business inaction on climate extends to potential employees.

Of the 51% of Australians currently either actively looking or considering new employment opportunities in 2022, 43% would not work for an employer who didn’t have an active plan.

Most local business leaders recognise the challenge and opportunity that this presents, with 58% committed to improving their sustainability practices in the next 12 months.

57% recognise the role of sustainable business practices to protect the environment, but also identify other challenges like focusing on pandemic recovery (39%) and lack of government incentives (26%) as preventing them from focusing on or prioritising sustainability.

Small businesses are taking on the climate crisis

While often lacking the resources of larger organisations, Australia’s small businesses appear to be taking meaningful action when it comes operating sustainably.

Though 17% of SMEs admit to not knowing where to start on their sustainability journey, more than two thirds (70%) claim that they are both actively exploring ways on how to operate more sustainably and taking steps to improve their practices within the next year.

Many small businesses are finding efficiencies by joining existing initiatives to give back to the planet, with 77% looking to support community-led initiatives like tree planting collectives.

Recognising the impact of the networks, Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition enables companies to contribute in a meaningful way to the collective fight against climate change.

Through contributing to the Coalition or joining like minded organisations such as 1derful, Archa and Frank Green as members, local businesses can contribute to the future of our planet by supporting a combined effort to restore 100 million trees by 2025.

In the Australian Open 2022, Mastercard rallied sports fans to ‘Love All’ the tournament has to offer, like the planet on which it takes place, and they are taking expressions of interest from local businesses, including SMEs, to support the Priceless Planet Coalition initiative.

According to Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia, Mastercard, the research reinforces that sustainable business practices must be a key agenda item for 2022 and beyond, alongside the need for leaders to take collective action against climate change.

“Tackling the global climate crisis isn’t possible without everyone’s involvement, no matter their footprint size, and Australians are looking to firms to step up in protecting the planet.”

“Taking collective action provides an opportunity to reduce overheads and time-consuming administration for SMEs while contributing to a greater output and result for the environment.”

The role of technology in a more sustainable future

Consumers and leaders are open to using technology to become sustainable (61% and 72%).

The majority of consumers who make efforts to track their carbon footprint or sustainable behaviour do so via technology such as apps or wearables (84%), while 25% would purchase more products and services from brands that allowed them to track their carbon consumption.

72% of business leaders are interested in adopting new tech to improve their sustainability, like data analytics (45%), automation technology (42%) and blockchain (32%), which enable brands to trace and share product lineage, so clients can make informed purchases.

“In the digital technology age, businesses and consumers alike can leverage technology in order to track and manage carbon and other emissions across the value chain, from sourcing materials and manufacturing to final distribution and personal consumption.”

“Mastercard is committed to using technology and its global network to inspire and enable collective action that fosters a more sustainable digital economy,” concluded Wormald.

Planting roots for a profitable and sustainable future

While being green is perceived to be more costly, 55% are confident that implementing these initiatives will increase their profitability in 2022, a belief that shopper sentiment supports.

34% always choose sustainable products and services over non-sustainable options if the cost is the same, while 32% choose the more sustainable option even if it’s more expensive.

53% of Australian businesses say they intend to diversify their product or service offering this year to make it more sustainable, meeting this growing customer demand.

Overall, making purchases that benefit the environment is currently considered to be on par with supporting local Australian businesses (53%) in the eyes of climate-savvy consumers, and only slightly behind making purchases that save customers’ money (60%).

Mastercard empowers positive force for environment

With its Priceless Planet Coalition, Mastercard continues to expand its offers of sustainable and action-focused initiatives via products and programs to support clients and partners.

This includes the following programs.

The Mastercard Carbon Calculator

Developed in collaboration with Doconomy, the Mastercard Carbon Calculator provides month-on-month insights on an individual’s estimated carbon footprint across a variety of spending categories, helping them better understand their impact on the environment.

Sustainable Cards

To maximise sustainable product innovation and security investments, Mastercard’s Global DigiSec Lab analyses the material makeup of cards to assess environmental claims and leads academic research on environmentally friendly ways to recycle existing plastic cards.

To date, almost two hundred financial institutions in 59 countries worldwide have issued Mastercard cards made from approved recycled, recyclable and bio-sourced materials.

Wildlife Impact Cards

Mastercard has teamed up with Conservation International to protect and restore wildlife habitats around the world, including priority areas which are equivalent to forty million hectares of landscapes and 4.5 square kilometers of seascapes worldwide by the year 2030.

People with a passion for nature and the environment get a way to protect Wildlife habitats.

The Wildlife Impact Card program highlights the urgency for action by having the card’s expiration date reflect the potential extinction date of many Critically Endangered species.