With electric buses, a huge forthcoming wind farm, and dozens of ecotastic buildings, South Korea is a leader in implementing sustainable development and promoting greener choices. As a part of a new policy plan announced by the Ministry of Environment, the Asian country has begun offering “green credits” for consumers who embrace a low-carbon lifestyle. The ministry issued green credit chips that are embedded into consumers’ credit cards. The chips store points when a cardholder buys certified green products or pays for green services, like public transportation. The credits can be redeemed for cash or they can be used to lower utility bills. Something as simple as saying no to a paper cup at a coffee shop or properly recycling batteries can rack up the carbon points.
The program is part of South Korea’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020. A senior official at the Climate Change Cooperation division at the ministry said that the government opted to create a new spending program for green living because they believe it will be more successful than something created by private companies, who could use it as a marketing strategy.
The city government of Seoul is also launching an eco-mileage credit card, allowing residents to receive coupons for the purchase of hybrid cars and eco-friendly appliances if they conserve electricity and water. Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor are both taking part.
Green products are typically more expensive than those that are less environmentally friendly, so a program that can save consumers money while encouraging them to buy greener seems like a win-win. What do you think? Can credit cards help save the planet?