Each time you use Mastercard’s new Do Black credit card, it tallies the carbon footprint of your purchase—and when you’ve exceeded your carbon budget for the year, the card will cut you off. “It’s about enabling financial activism for a more sustainable lifestyle,” says Matias Wikström, one of the founders of Doconomy, the Swedish think tank that released the card in partnership with Mastercard and the UN Climate Change Secretariat earlier this year. Made with bioplastic and printed with ink made from air pollution, Do Black uses data from Thomson Reuters and Sustainalytics (an Amsterdam-based firm that rates companies based on sustainability) to measure the climate impact of each purchase. It’s part of a new mobile banking service currently available in Sweden and likely to launch soon in other markets, including the U.K. and the U.S. (A separate card, the Do White, monitors the carbon footprint of your purchases without cutting off credit once you’ve reached your limit.) Doconomy is also beginning to work directly with brands to incorporate detailed carbon-related data about each product, which it hopes will further incentivize manufacturers to cut emissions and help spur more systemic change. Eventually, when you shop, you’ll be able to compare the emissions of one pair of slacks to another. “You’ll pick between two different products based on impact rather than price, which is a pretty big step,” says Doconomy cofounder Johan Pihl.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.