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33_RePay International

The card that pays off Mother Nature

Forget frequent-flier miles—the Visa GreenCard is the first to pay off the planet, in the form of carbon offsets. RePay International calculates the carbon emissions associated with each purchase, based on a formula developed by CE, a Dutch engineering company. Its software then figures the amount of sustainable credits—in this case, tree plantings in the Netherlands, Ecuador, and Uganda—needed to mitigate the greenhouse gases. So, a $300 airline ticket generates 2,037 pounds of CO2, which requires 46 trees; RePay foots the bill (from $5 to $18) for buying and planting the trees. Both emissions and offsets appear on the monthly statement, making it at once a source of guilt, relief, and, says Frans Otten, who developed the GreenCard with a little more awareness. It turns out that GreenCard holders use it three times more than the average credit card, proof that sustainability is not only profitable, but it can be more profitable. It's scheduled to roll out in the United States in April. Oh, and this plastic isn't even plastic—it's made from corn.

Update: Tendris Holding B.V., the holding company for RePay International, is launching its U.S. version of the card through its newest company, GreenCard, based in San Francisco.