Whether people are planting trees with search engines or repurposing vintage finds, environmental awareness is trending – especially among the Gen Z crowd. PDI’s Business of Sustainability Index reports that 91% of Gen Z want to buy from sustainable companies. And believe it or not, one of the sustainable banks and ESG credit cards are gaining traction. Keep reading to learn more about these cards, including which one may be best for you.

Understanding ESG credit cards

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance – a set of criteria used to evaluate a company’s commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical practices. In an effort headed by the United Nations in 2023, ESG was turned into a formal corporate social responsibility (CSR) impact initiative. It emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability for businesses or consumers in a few ways.

  • Environmental – Customers can earn cashback, points, or miles for spending in eco-friendly categories like renewable energy providers, electric vehicle charging stations, or sustainable fashion brands.
  • Social – Some cards donate a portion of your spending to charitable causes, like education, poverty alleviation, or community development.
  • Governance – Strong company culture isn’t just a nice addition to a credit card company – sometimes, there can be ethical implications.

By incorporating these ESG principles, credit cards can encourage cardholders to make eco-conscious choices and support companies that prioritize sustainability and social good. And with so many perks, it’s no wonder that Gen Z is flocking to cards like these.

“The popularity of ESG credit cards among Gen Z can be attributed to their strong inclination towards sustainability,” says Meghan Neville, the Chief Marketing Officer at Brokee. “This demographic seeks value alignment … and ESG credit cards fulfill this need by promoting environmental and social causes.”

Key features of ESG credit cards

Credit cards that are specifically categorized as ESG cards offer features catered to environmentally and socially conscious consumers. Often, you’ll find features like:

  • Earning power: You’ll get cash back, points, or miles for spending in categories that promote sustainability – renewable energy providers, electric vehicle charging stations, or sustainable fashion brands.
  • Carbon offset programs: These programs are made to counteract the carbon footprint generated by your purchases.
  • Charitable contributions: You may also find cards that donate a portion of your spending to social causes like education, poverty alleviation, or community development.

As you’re examining the key features of ESG cards, it’s important to remember that not all cards are created equal. Before you take the plunge and apply for a particular card, be sure to research specific features and initiatives.

Leading ESG credit cards

It can be hard to find a card that’s classified specifically as an ESG credit card, and often, they’re affiliated with smaller banks or credit unions that have serious ESG strategies. Here are a few options for cards that pride themselves on channeling ESG values.

1. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

  • Rewards – This card offers a flat 2% cash back on all purchases, with no category limitations – which allows you to support sustainable businesses you choose.
  • Sustainability initiatives – Currently, Wells Fargo offers programs that support renewable energy and environmental causes, like reducing GHG emissions, decreasing energy use, and much more.

More: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

2. Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

  • Rewards – The Custom Cash℠ card earns 5% cash back in your top spending category each month – perfect for eco-friendly categories that aligns with your spending habits.
  • Sustainability initiatives – Citi offers programs focused on environmental finance and social development, namely reducing waste and water consumption in its’ offices.

More: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

3. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards – This Capital One card earns 2x miles on all purchases, and 10x the miles on travel booked through Capital One. Miles can be redeemed for travel, or transferred to travel partners that practice sustainability.
  • Sustainability efforts – Capital One’s Venture X card is a Visa card – and Visa has an illustrious ESG program. In their 2022 report, they outline their impact on sustainable outcomes, their engagement with governmental bodies, and so much more.

4. American Express® Green Card

  • Rewards – Offers 3x points on travel, transit, and restaurants – including public transportation like rideshares or trains, which is a far more sustainable option.
  • Sustainability initiatives – Made from 70% recycled plastic, which is just one of the many features of American Express’ Corporate Responsibility Program.

How to choose the right ESG credit card

There’s a lot to consider when you’re trying to choose the right ESG card for you, factors like rewards, fees, and the card’s sustainability initiatives. It’s extremely important that, when choosing the right ESG card for you, you can evaluate different cards based on their environmental and social impact.


An ESG credit card is one from a company that strives for transparency, aims to go green, and provides an ethical experience for all consumers – especially Gen Z. You’ll find rewards that go towards sustainable causes, perks for shopping from ESG-friendly businesses, or even cards made from recycled plastic. And now, you can choose from the many ESG cards available whichever one aligns with your values.