Guest Post from Wide Open Wallet

Welcome to my Green Living series. This series has been inspired by David Bach’s latest book, Go Green, Live Rich. And you can enter to win this book by leaving a comment on this post or any posts on my green living series. I post Green Living posts on Tuesdays over on my blog.

Green Credit Cards

If you want to help the environment without changing your lifestyle you can get a green credit card. Green credit cards earn rewards that are then donated to green causes. Carbon offset cards donate the rewards earned when you shop to emission reduction efforts. David Bach suggests the GE’s Money Earth Rewards card and the Bank of America Brighter Planet Visa card. (They also have a Brighter Planet checking account.) It is estimated that for every $1,000 spent on a carbon offset card, one ton of carbon offsets will be purchased.

Well, that sounds great, but exactly is an carbon offset? According to Wikipedia: A carbon offset is a financial instrument representing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions…One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases. Wiki goes on to say: Offsets are typically generated from emissions-reducing projects. The most common project type is renewable energy, such as wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams. Other common project types include energy efficiency projects, the destruction of industrial pollutants or agricultural byproducts, destruction of landfill methane, and forestry projects. So basically, when you purchase a carbon offset you give money to these green causes to make up for the things that you do that are bad for the environment.

If you don’t want to buy carbon offsets with your reward points you can get an affinity card. Affinity cards are attached to a specific cause and the rewards are donated to a specific charitable organization. Bank of America has several affinity cards. Here is list of what they have available.

So tell me what you think? Do green credit cards seem like a good idea? Would you be willing to give up cash back in order to participate in this type of program? Leave a comment and get an entry to win David Bach’s latest book!

9 thoughts on “Guest Post from Wide Open Wallet”

  1. I blog about carbon offsetting, and the GE & B of A card are not as good as the Greenpay card. GreenPay is offering:

    * 10 pounds of CO reduction for each $1 of eligible net purchases for gasoline and household utilities
    * 5 pounds of CO2 reduction for each $1 of other eligible net purchases
    * 5 pounds of CO2 reduction for each $1 of other eligible net purchases
    * New account bonus: 10,000 pounds of C2 (which is the average annual CO2 emission of a car in the U.S will be removed as a bonus for your first card purchase
    * reductions are independently certified

    1 ton is approximately 2200 pounds. You would have to spend $1,000 to offset 1 ton with Brighter Planet. You would have to spend $440 dollars with Greenpay for that same 1 ton.

    You can read the rest of the post here

  2. Right now money is too tight (lost job … now working to create own business) to participate in the purchase of Carbon Offsets; Still, I do work to make my own footprint smaller by choosing food with less packaging, cloth napkins/plates/utensils over disposables, etc.

    I appreciate the bargain Matt pointed out when using Greenpay.

  3. With all charities and carbon offsets I’d rather make a conscious choice to give to them rather than giving credit card reward points.

  4. I think any way that will help the planet is great. I don’t know much, or anything really, about green credit cards. Thanks for opening my eyes to this concept. I’ll have to check out Matt’s post as well.

  5. like Matt M stated in the comments, I’m still not sold on the idea of carbon credits either. I think it’s kind of a bunch of baloney.

  6. I’m not too sure about the whole carbon credit myself. It seems like a way to justify over-consumption and feel good about yourself. I’d rather keep the money and use it for good works that I know are working.

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