SMBs Lack Clarity in Existing Carbon Offset Cards

Climate-committed entrepreneurial businesses want to do the right thing when it comes to carbon offsets but find it difficult to know which claims to believe.

After all, a vendor saying that it will plant a tree with each product purchase doesn’t mean much because the tree will take 40 years to mature. And marketing gimmicks like that have created uncertainty in an area that can do good when done right.

“It’s a real pet peeve of mine when people automatically think that there’s an issue with carbon offsetting,” CarbonPay CEO and Founder Rory Spurway told PYMNTS. “There isn’t an issue with carbon offsets — there’s an issue with a part of that market, and that it’s a valuable and demanding market.”

To show the authenticity of the carbon offsets delivered with every use of its recently introduced prepaid business payment card, CarbonPay works with projects and partners that are climate experts and posts the information on its website.

“Simplicity, transparency and impact are key to this business, and so we want everything to be transparent, which is why on our website we talk about the projects that we back — because we are proud of them,” Spurway said.

Making Solutions Accessible and Automatic

Another key element of such a program is to make solutions to climate change accessible and automatic.

One way to do that is with a payment method that delivers a carbon offset at the time of purchase because every transaction has a carbon footprint, whether it’s going to the supermarket, filling up the car with gas or going out to dinner — or delivering the food and fuel to the grocery store, gas station or restaurant.

CarbonPay’s prepaid business payment card, which was launched April 4, automatically offsets carbon emissions with every transaction — at the rate of 1 kilogram for every dollar a business purchased. In addition, with a partner’s technology, it also tracks the carbon footprint of every purchase.

It’s a compelling product for companies looking to lower emissions and make good on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. It can also help them get a better handle on spend management.

“We are seeing this more and more when we talk to chief sustainability officers, they’re eager to do something, but how can they start reducing the carbon footprint of the organization, the departments and the teams if they don’t have the data around it and the inputs?” Spurway said. “So, we’re providing them with the data, and we’re providing them with the offsets.”

Building Blocks to Lower Emissions

The company started with prepaid business cards because they’re accessible to companies of all sizes. Later, it plans to add charge cards and credit cards.

For a small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB) to get a credit product, the director or owner of the company must take responsibility for that, or the company must be well enough established that it can get access to credit. Prepaid is a more streamlined solution.

Buying on credit would also be a challenge for SMBs because they may not have the same kind of cash flow forecasting capabilities. Prepaid options, on the other hand, help them get a better handle on spending.

Providing Simplicity and Accessibility

CarbonPay’s card has the functionality of any other prepaid card, but it also offsets SMBs’ emissions and helps them figure out how to reduce their carbon footprint.

“When we started really learning and investigating what the causes of climate change are and how we can go about solving it, one of the words that kept popping up is ‘systemic change,’” Spurway said. “And to create systemic change you need to make it accessible, and you need to make it automatic.”

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS PAYABLES INNOVATION STUDY– APRIL 2022

Plastiq - The Future Of Business Payables Innovation: How New B2B Payment Options Can Transform The SMB Back Office - April 2022 - Learn how all-in-one payment solutions can help businesses streamline B2B transactions and remove AP and AR management frictions

About: While over half of SMBs believe that an all-in-one payment platform can save them time and improve visibility into cash flows, 56% believe that the solution could be difficult to integrate with existing AP and AR systems. The Future Of Business Payables Innovation Report, a PYMNTS and Plastiq collaboration, surveyed 500 SMBs with revenues between $500,000 and $100 million to explore how all-in-one solutions can exceed SMBs’ expectations and help future-proof their businesses.

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