It's bad enough that our nation is so dependent on credit, but what's worse is that so many banks are reported to fund environmentally questionable industries like illegal logging, oil pipelines, and anti-environment political parties. There is a bright side for eco-conscious credit card holders, however. Many banks are now offering green affinity cards that let consumers' everyday purchases work for the environment. By using one of these credit cards, you'll be contributing money to environmental and/or humanitarian nonprofits or even possibly offsetting your greenhouse gas emissions with each purchase!
- The Bank of America Brighter Planet Credit Card lets you score on "EarthSmart" point for every dollar you spend. For every 1,000 points earned, the bank will offset 1 ton of carbon dioxide emissions through renewable-energy projects, which is about the same as taking a car off the road for a month.
- A Nature Conservancy Visa Card provided by Bank of America automatically donates $65 to the charity when you open the account and the organization gets 0.25 percent of all your purchases. The card itself is made from 55 percent recycled content, and since the program's inception, cardholders have generated more than $13 million in financial support for the Nature Conservancy.
- The (Red) American Express Card is a founding partner of (PRODUCT) Red. With every purchase made on the American Express (Red) Card, American Express contributes 1 percent directly to the Global Fund, an organization founded in 2002 to fight the pandemics AIDS/HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. At the moment, this card isn't available to those outside the United Kingdom , but that hasn't halted the card's efforts: the Global Fund has helped save over 2 million people in more than 136 countries!
- The Working Assets Visa Card is considered the greenest affinity card by financial experts at Co-Op America because it donates ten cents with every purchase to your choice of one of 50 nonprofits such as Project Vote, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, Natural Resources Defense Council, and ACLU. The Working Assets card makes it possible for you to "save money while also protecting the environment, defending free speech, and preserving human rights around the world."
- The Salmon Nation Visa Card, provided by the eco-friendly lending institution One PacificCoast Bank, offers the biggest eco-advantage for consumers. Half the income generated for One PacificCoast Bank from the card goes to Ecotrust to help build Salmon Nation, an economic, cultural, and ecological community collective in the bioregion that contains Pacific salmon spawning grounds. The ultimate goal of the Salmon Nation Visa Credit Card is to "create a citizenry that votes and makes behavioral choices that contribute to enhancing the health of whole watershed and the economies of the people that live in them."