United Kingdom (Leeds)
Can you do your shopping and plant a tree at the same time?
Tred is a UK-based green debit card that helps people fight climate change. How do they do this? Through tracking, reducing and offsetting people’s carbon footprint as they spend.
During a conversation at dinner Co-Founder Will Smith was having an argument with a friend about what was worst for the environment—a short flight or plastic straws—when he realised that part of the problem is that most people don’t know what their carbon footprint actually is. As he explained, “it’s a bit like trying to lose weight without any scales.”
This is where the idea for Tred came in. Made from recycled plastic, the debit card and app are linked to people’s bank accounts, so that every time they spend Tred calculates the personalised carbon footprint based on their individual spending—the trip to the supermarket, a tech upgrade or a morning coffee.
Tred gives insights into spending, so people can learn which aspects of their lifestyle are having the biggest impact and take effective action. As Peter Kirby, Co-Founder of Tred, says,
“There is currently huge demand from individuals for greener spending solutions…every time our customers buy a coffee or tap into the tube with their Tred card, the app will calculate the environmental impact of that transaction. We believe the repercussions of this could be game-changing, removing barriers to climate change action and empowering consumers to adjust their lifestyle habits.”
The interest from the public can be seen in Tred’s successful crowdfunding campaigns in 2021 and 2022, which saw them exceed their fundraising goals in just 10 minutes.
To help people improve their spending habits, Tred suggests sustainable switches to reduce the impact further. And to keep people on track they add some gamifying elements, such as charts on how people compare to the average shopper and rewards as people change their habits and improve their impact.
To offset spending, Tred invests the revenue in a number of plans in reforestation, conservation, sustainable insulation and renewable energy. The amount people contribute to this every month depends on their spending (so they can offset the exact amount of their spending), although users can also stipulate their upper limit per month so they can keep within budget.
As Kirby explains, “Our mission at Tred is to make money work for people and the planet. We’re incredibly proud of our technology that’s helping thousands of customers manage their money in a greener way. But it’s also important to us that Tred is doing the right thing by the planet as a business.”
To ensure their own practices are ethical, they are a 1% for the Planet member, a pending B Corporation, and a Living Wage employer. They also collaborate with organisations such as the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to ensure that their tree planting projects have a long-term impact, and that the new trees benefit the local ecosystem and blend with the natural landscape. Recently they have been planting trees in Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales, as well as other sites around the world.
Tred is currently only available in the UK and as of 2022 has over 35,000 people signed up.
Will Smith and Peter Kirby, Co-Founders
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