Businesses that use MasterCard corporate cards will soon be able to access automatic reporting and analysis of estimated travel-related carbon emissions data based on their card transactions. Due for launch in the US later this year, the MasterCard Carbon Emissions Reporting feature was developed in response to the nearly 80% of companies expressing an interest in green travel initiatives.
MasterCard and Brighter Planet, the carbon management solutions company, have come together to offer the service. Estimated data on flights, rental cars, hotels and other travel purchases will be processed by Brighter Planet’s carbon calculation platform, which will integrate carbon scores into MasterCard’s web-based expense management and reporting solution. The carbon scoring will let companies benchmark, track, compare and report various emissions metrics.
MasterCard believes the service comes at a critical time, with consumers and businesses becoming more sensitive to both costs and carbon footprints. According to the National Business Travel Association, US business travel generates $240bn billion in annual spending and as much as 30-40% of operational costs for some companies. At the same time, companies are striving to benchmark sustainability goals and initiatives and address the environmental concerns of stakeholders.
What’s encouraging is the demand for the travel-related carbon data that MasterCard/Brighter Planet will produce. It may not be that accurate (although MasterCard says it uses independently validated, standards-compliant calculation methodologies) but it will at least provide companies with a benchmark and the means to track progress.