Credit card companies have known for ages that rewards systems are a good way to entice card holders, but most are just now realizing that many conscientious consumers want their money to work for the planet, too. Here are some green cards worth investigating:

GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum MasterCard

Greening the earth is as easy as mince pie when you use your GE card on your holiday shopping spree. Funnel 1% of the value of your total spending into projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions; or contribute 0.5% to climate projects and get the other 0.5% as cash back. No annual fee, initial APR 0%; in partnership with AES Corp.

World Wildlife Fund Platinum Visa Card

Did you know that every time you buy a gift with your WWF card, a penguin gets its wings? Okay, life’s not that wonderful. But 1% of every purchase will help protect endangered species. To date the card has raised more than $10 million to help save endangered species and protect threatened habitats around the world. No annual fee, initial APR 0%; in partnership with Chase.

Salmon Nation Visa Card
You don’t have to be a salmon fanatic to carry ShoreBank Pacific’s card; you don’t even have to have an account at the bank. ShoreBank splits its earnings from the card with Ecotrust, an organization that works to protect Salmon Nation, the region from Alaska to Oregon where wild salmon live. No annual fee, 12.9% APR.

Working Assets Visa Card

Founded in 1985, Working Assets has raised more than $50 million for progressive causes. With every purchase you charge to this card, 10 cents  will go to your choice of one of 50 nonprofits, including the National Center for Science Education and the Rainforest Action Network. No annual fee, 9.9% APR.

Nature Conservancy Visa Card

Most “free gifts” are junk, but this card comes with the gift of a one-year Nature Conservancy membership, plus a subscription to the group’s magazine. For every card account opened, NC receives an initial $65, and 0.65% of all net purchases subsequently charged. No annual fee. 

Story by Tobin Hack. This article originally appeared in Plenty in December 2007.

Copyright Environ Press 2007