Mastercard Discusses Latest Annual Sustainability Report

Mastercard releases its 2020 Corporate Sustainability report and we take a look at the many sustainability achievements of the company

The future of sustainability among people and the planet is a prime focus for Mastercard. The payment solutions provider has released its 2020 Corporate Sustainability report, which outlines the company’s approach to sustainability over the past year. The report breaks down Mastercard’s commitments to the environment, people and culture, ethical and responsible standards, and inclusion. 

Inclusive Growth 

The company has supported in various ways during the coronavirus pandemic, including providing financial backing and improving issues like pay inequality among genders and nationalities. The company has:

  • Made a five-year US$250mn commitment to provide small businesses with financial tools, technology, products, funding, and data insights necessary to weather the pandemic. 
  • Committed US$500mn over five years to help close the wealth and opportunity gaps faced by black communities in the US.
  • Achieved its goal of financially including 500 million people and expanding its commitment to reach a total of 1 billion people, 50 million micro and small merchants, with an emphasis on 25 million women entrepreneurs, by 2025. 
  • Launched more than 100 government relief programs in response to COVID -19 to assist with inclusive recovery around the world.

Investing in People

Mastercard has invested a lot of time and money into its people and provided extra support throughout the pandemic:

  • Tied executive compensation to ESG goals and priorities, including carbon neutrality, gender pay parity and financial inclusion.
  • Supported workforce with no COVID-related layoffs in 2020 and invested in new mental and physical wellbeing policies and programs.
  • Launched Investing in You program, increasing its employer 401K match to 10% for every 6% contributed by employees. 
  • Reached the million-girl milestone for its STEM-based Girls4Tech programme, allowing commitment to engaging five million girls by 2025.

Support for the Environment

The sustainability report highlights the success of Mastercard’s sustainability initiatives and partnerships, including:

  • The results of its initial Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures analysis.
  • Its commitment to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 across its operations and value chain, improving on existing science-based targets.
  • Issuance of a US$600mn sustainability bond to support carbon reduction, supporting environmental choices for customers, and fostering inclusive growth.
  • Launching the Priceless Planet Coalition with now more than 60 partners with a goal to restore 100 million trees over five years. 
  • Exceeded 10 million cards made from approved sustainable materials using Mastercard’s Sustainable Card Materials Directory.

Responding to Ethical Issues

Ethical practices are highly important for the organisation as it strives to be inclusive across all of its actions:

  • The company has committed to increasing annual spending with Black suppliers by more than 70%, to $100 million annually by 2025.
  • It has extended its Specialty Merchant Registration program that requires banks to certify strong control measures related to materials published on adult content sites. 
  • The company has announced its new Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specifications, applying the latest quantum-resistant technologies to deliver enhanced privacy, security and trust for the next generation of contactless payments.

‘This unprecedented year reinforced how important it is for us to help those in need today and continue to build a more inclusive and sustainable world’, says Michael Miebach, Chief Executive Officer of Mastercard. ‘For us, sustainability means ensuring everyone has the same opportunities to grow and thrive in alignment with the planet. This year’s report is a reflection of all that we have achieved and marks an important moment to share the progress we continue to make together’.

Ling Hai, Co-President of Asia Pacific at Mastercard, says, ‘Building a more inclusive and sustainable world is not a matter of corporate social responsibility, but one of economic necessity and opportunity’.

‘As technological advancement speeds ahead, accelerated by the pandemic, we have much work left to do to address the disparity of digital and financial access in order to ensure the rising tide lifts all boats’.


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