While many people jump at the chance to make simple pro-environment changes, like carrying a reusable water bottle or recycling their plastics, changing their banking to a green financial institution is a harder sell—especially when the only perceived benefit may be the planting of a few extra trees. Companies like Aspiration, however, are changing the world of green banking, bringing consumers significant financial incentives alongside standard environmental wins. Now, consumers have the opportunity to spend green to go green.
Aspiration is an online green financial service that started with a mission to do well and do good. The service partners with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, Crypto Climate Accord, 1% For The Planet, 1T.org, Certified B Corporation, and Project Drawdown in building a cleaner, greener world. Aspiration has an organizational goal to plant 125 million trees by 2030.
The company provides individual services with significant financial and environmental benefits, works with the business community in carbon footprint reduction, and makes green investing simple. Aspiration is FDIC-insured, relies on strong encryption security, and while it is not a bank, partners with various financial institutions in issuing its products.
Aspiration is, first and foremost, a company dedicated to environmental sustainability. Tree planting is a primary component of their organizational mission, allowing users to round up to the nearest dollar when shopping to fund reforestation. Discussing reforestation efforts, the company highlighted its global impact:
“Our Aspiration community plants more trees than there are in New York’s Central Park every day. We work with leading reforestation partners around the world so that our tree initiatives restore and protect biodiversity, enhance native ecosystems, and support local communities. Our planting locations include Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar, Honduras, Brazil, and here in the U.S.—with more locations and projects on the way.”
Tree planting is only one element of the Aspiration community’s environmental impact. The Planet Protection Program is available for Aspiration Plus users, purchasing carbon offsets for every gallon of gas bought using an Aspiration card. So far, the program has offset 17,847 metric tonnes of CO2.
Finally, Aspiration provides services to help consumers spend green to go green. Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) offers consumers sustainability scores by assessing spending habits, providing a helpful baseline from which to improve. Aspiration has also assembled the Conscience Coalition, a list of green companies. Aspiration users earn ten percent cashback when shopping at companies belonging to the coalition.
One thing setting Aspiration apart is the financial incentives layered on top of sustainable benefits. In a season of slashed interest rates, the guaranteed high interest savings account is a significant perk. While most high yield savings accounts are currently offering an annual percentage yield (APY) of less than one percent, Aspiration accounts typically yield between three and five percent APY depending on the plan you choose.
While a high APY is certainly a strong benefit in our current market conditions, Aspiration offers other appealing consumer protections and incentives. Users can receive direct deposits up to two days early, access 55,000 free in-network ATMs, move money with instant transfers, and receive 90-day purchase protection when shopping with an Aspiration credit card. The card offers its own perks and makes sustainable investing easy. The enterprise division of Aspiration works with businesses from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies in pursuing climate solutions.
Green finance should be prompted by the market, not mandated by the government. The market is demanding better options—finance that benefits both consumer and planet.
Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.