Just as a payroll deduction makes saving for retirement easier, some credit cards are making saving the planet a bit easier or at least donating to earth-friendly causes.
The latest on the scene is Brighter Planet, which has teamed up with Bank of America to offer a Visa credit card that invests in renewable energy projects with the incremental "reward" that might otherwise line the pocket of the card owner. In other words, it is a painless way to donate.
Brighter Planet touts its environmental credibility. Its advisory board includes Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres; Bill McKibben, prominent environmental author and activist; and Gus Speth, dean of the Yale Forestry School and co-founder of the World Resources Institute and the National Resources Defense Council.
For every $1,000 spent with the card, about one ton of carbon is offset with NativeEnergy, which builds wind turbines and waste methane generators on Native American lands, and also works with Al Gore's projects. (Native Energy charges $12 for an individual to offset one ton, making the donation approximately equivalent to the 1% "rewards" that other credit cards offer users.)
The average American, according to Brighter Planet, is responsible for producing 23 tons of carbon a year. Going completely carbon neutral is pretty tough, so donating some money whether to an environmental group or a company building renewable energy projects is one way consumers can feel better about their environmental impact.
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