Credit Card FAQ

Credit Card FAQS

In our FAQ section, you can find some of your questions answered concerning Sustain:Green's goals and what drove us to create this credit card. We hope to answer your concerns.

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact of everything we do or buy—on climate change. Put another way, it is the estimated total amount of greenhouse gases produced by a person's activities. Your carbon footprint includes all of your activities. For example, eating a simple hamburger increases your footprint, because it requires energy that begins with raising the cows to transporting the meat and growing the flour that becomes the bun. The size of your footprint depends on your lifestyle - what car you drive, how much you drive, how you heat your home, etc.

Why Should I Care?

The Earth’s climate is changing, and people’s activities are the main cause. The Earth is getting warmer because people are producing more greenhouse gases, mainly by using fossil fuels, which trap heat in the atmosphere. This warming results in other effects, such as rising sea levels, more frequent and dramatic storms, flooding in some areas and drought in others. Millions of people may be affected by rising sea levels, hunger due to drought, disease and deadly storms. While the Earth’s climate has changed before, this time it’s different because people are the cause. Your carbon footprint is a measure of your impact on global warming. However, you can reduce your footprint and adopt a sustainable lifestyle. To learn more about the cause of climate change, click here.

How Do I Measure My Carbon Footprint

You can use our carbon calculator to estimate your carbon footprint. Carbon footprints are measured in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent units, because while carbon dioxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas, it is not the only one. When we talk about reducing greenhouse gases to fight climate change, we sometime use CO2 or just carbon as a short-hand.

How Do I Reduce My Carbon Footprint?

Climate change may be a global crisis, but it is preventable and there are many ways to join the fight. With smart choices, we can reduce our carbon footprint. Some choices may be fairly simple, like avoiding bottled water, eating more locally grown foods, driving less and buying fuel efficient cars. But even if we reduce our footprint, it will still exist. And sometimes activities like flying are hard to avoid if we want to go on vacation or visit family.

So how is it that so many companies and universities claim that they are carbon neutral? They have adopted a philosophy of: Reduce What You Can - Offset What You Can't. These companies and universities purchase and retire carbon offsets. By retiring offsets in an amount equal to their carbon footprint, they become carbon neutral. They have eliminated their carbon footprint.

These purchases of carbon offsets provide funds to projects that reduce greenhouse gases. Without this funding, these projects would most likely not exist. Since climate change is a global problem, it does not really matter where the greenhouse gases are eliminated. To learn more about reducing your carbon footprint, click here.

What Are Carbon Offsets?

Carbon offsets are created when someone takes specific steps to reduce, avoid or sequester greenhouse gas emissions from a specific project. While carbon offsets may seem a bit abstract, the reduction in CO2 is very real, as are the green projects generating these offsets. These projects may involve reforestation, green energy, capping methane emissions from farms, or many other projects. They are sold by the project developer, providing needed funding for these green projects. Thus, by purchasing carbon offsets, we help support a range of green projects.

When you retire a carbon offset, you are cancelling out or offsetting, an amount of greenhouse gases your activities are releasing into the environment. We are committed to making a real difference in the fight against climate change, so we are very particular when we select projects. We have also partnered with the non-profit American Carbon Registry to ensure that we choose our projects wisely. To learn more about carbon offsets, click here.

How Does the Sustain:Green MasterCard Help the Environment?

The Sustain:Green MasterCard® gives you rewards that really matter. We offer you an opportunity to join a community dedicated to making a difference and sustaining the planet. To get you started, we retire 5,000 pounds of carbon offsets if you make your first purchase within 90 days.1 Then we purchase and retire 2 pounds of carbon offsets for every dollar of Net Merchandise Purchases2 using your Sustain:Green MasterCard. Additionally, if you spend $1,250 in a calendar quarter, we purchase and retire a bonus 2,500 pounds of carbon offsets, up to a 10,000 pounds bonus per year3. Currently all of our carbon offsets are purchased through the independent non-profit American Carbon Registry, so you can be assured that these offsets are high quality and will be permanently retired. You will even be able to monitor the amount of offsets we have retired at the American Carbon Registry, as this information will all be public. As a Rockefeller family institution and part of the global non-profit Winrock International, the American Carbon Registry has set the bar for offset quality that is the market standard today and continues to lead carbon market innovation.

Sustain:Green also offer a unique added benefit - you will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also fund rainforest reforestation and preservation initiative, by using your Sustain:Green MasterCard. Through Sustain:Green's partnership with Nike and the American Carbon Registry in the Mata No Peito project, when we use certain offsets from Nike, all of the money is donated to a fund that will provide seed capital to innovative forestry project. As the destruction of forests is a major contributor to global warming, we believe these projects will make a real and positive contribution.

How Do I Know You Are Really Putting These Funds to Good Use?

We were careful to join with the right partners so that all of our members can be confident that we are retiring high quality offsets that conform to internationally accepted standards. This is why Sustain:Green has partnered with the non-profit American Carbon Registry to ensure that we choose our projects wisely. Furthermore, you will even be able to monitor the amount of offsets we have retired at the American Carbon Registry, as this information will all be public. Additionally, all rainforest projects developed through Mata No Peito will have to conform with independently established and monitored protocols. The American Carbon Registry will have a key role in making sure that these projects meet key requirements.

How Does This Compare With A Cashback Card?

If you make at least $417 per month in Net Merchandise Purchases you will reduce your carbon footprint by 20,000 pounds per year. Based on the $15 per tonne we sell carbon offsets in our carbon store, that would cost you about $136. You would need to have a cashback of 2.72% to accomplish the same thing by using your cashback earnings to buy offsets.4 This figure does not include the 5,000 pound bonus for your first purchase.1 Furthermore, with Sustain:Green, the process is simple and automatic. You do not have to worry about cashback categories, redemption requests or minimum redemption levels. You make a commitment to fight climate change and we make it simple and efficient. Let's make a difference every day.

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1Within 90 days following the account opening of your new Sustain:Green MasterCard® credit card, approved applicants must use the card to make a purchase, balance transfer, or cash advance to qualify for the 5,000 pound retirement of Carbon Offsets. Please allow 30 days for the 5,000 pound retirement to post to your Sustain:Green Reward Program account. Limit one (1) 5,000 pound reduction offer per Sustain: Green Reward Program account.

2"Net Merchandise Purchases" means purchases of merchandise or services on the Account, less any returned merchandise credits or service credits posted to the Account. Net Merchandise Purchases does not include Cash Advances, Balance or associated fees, money transfers or other fees, gaming chips, or fees or premiums for coverage or insurance to protect the balances of an Account holder's Account. Questions concerning eligible transactions and what constitutes Net Merchandise Purchases will be determined in the sole discretion of Commerce.

3 In any calendar quarter, make at least $1,250 in Net Merchandise Purchases and Sustain:Green will reduce your carbon footprint by an additional 2,500 pounds. Only one such bonus Reward may be earned in any given calendar quarter, for a maximum of 10,000 pounds per calendar year. All Rewards earned and accrued are subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Sustain:Green Rewards Program Terms & Conditions for Sustain:Green MasterCard.

4 20,000 pound total reduction based on 2,500 pound bonus for Net Merchandise Purchases of $1,250 per calendar quarter, plus 10,000 pounds for making $5,000 in Net Merchandise Purchases at 2 pounds per $1 per year.

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