New to Commons: Get Paid for Spending Sustainably

When it comes to facing the climate crisis, our money matters. In fact, the way we spend our money — on everything from groceries to transportation — impacts 65% of global emissions. 

Every week we have opportunities to spend more sustainably. When we choose to take public transit, eat a plant-based meal, or shop secondhand, we’re making sustainable spending choices. Our collective spending is building a greener economy, and we think you should get rewarded for it. 

Spend Sustainably. Get Cash. 

For a limited time*, Commons will pay you to spend sustainably. You can earn up to $30 each month!

Buying less is the first step toward lower emissions, so rather than rewarding you based on the amount of dollars you spend at sustainable companies, you get rewards based on your percentage of purchases at sustainable companies. The higher your percentage of sustainable purchases, the more you earn.

As you make more purchases throughout the month, your percentage will fluctuate. Your percentage at the end of the month will determine your redeemable rewards for that month. 

* This offer is available to Commons users from September 1 through January 31, 2024.

How to earn rewards

1. Connect your card to start tracking your sustainable purchases.

Once you connect your card to Commons, you can start earning rewards based on your sustainable purchases. 

In addition to earning rewards, connecting a card enables you to calculate your most accurate carbon footprint. See which purchases are contributing the most emissions and get personalized recommendations for sustainable brands and lifestyle choices

2. Make purchases on your connected card, opting for low-carbon purchases when you can.

As you make purchases throughout the month, check in on your rewards page to see your sustainable purchases. 

Our algorithm identifies hundreds of sustainable brands, but purchases from local sustainable brands (like thrifts stores, tailors, or plant-based restaurants) may not be identified the first time. We recommend reviewing your purchases before the end of the month make sure your transactions are correctly categorized so you get credit for all your sustainable purchases. 

3. Earn rewards for each sustainable purchase that you make.

At the end of the month, it’s time to redeem your rewards! You can redeem your rewards in one of three ways: 

  • Cash: Get your rewards directly to your PayPal or Venmo
  • Donation (2x): Commons will match your rewards when you donate to our nonprofit partner, Intersectional Environmentalist. Intersectional Environmentalist (IE) is a 501c3 focused on environmental storytelling centered on diversity and joy, rooted in the values of the environmental justice movement.
  • Offsets (3x): Triple the impact of your rewards when you use them to offset your emissions. 

The amount of rewards you receive will be based on your percentage of sustainable purchases:

  • 0-0.9% = $0
  • 1-9% = $5
  • 10-19% = $10
  • 20-29% = $15
  • 30%+ = $30

You can redeem September rewards starting Oct. 1, and October rewards starting Nov. 1. All rewards expire Feb. 29. 

What counts as a sustainable purchase?

Commons determines a company’s sustainability based on its capacity to measurably lower global emissions. Earn rewards for purchases at companies that are operating low-carbon business models  (like public transit or thrift stores) or Climate Neutral Certified companies. 

Climate Neutral Companies

We chose Climate Neutral Certification as a criteria for Sustainable Brands because companies with the certification reduce and compensate for 100% of their emissions from making and delivering products and services. 

Climate Neutral is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a rigorous certification process, to identify companies taking responsibility for their emissions. In the Commons app, purchases from these brands have a carbon footprint of zero.

Low-emission business models

  1. Secondhand or thrift stores: Shopping secondhand creates less demand for manufacturing new products, and keeps used items out of landfills.
  2. Vegetarian or vegan restaurants: By bypassing animal products, these restaurants use less carbon-intensive ingredients.
  3. Farmers markets: By supporting local farms, we lower the transportation emissions of our food, build biodiversity, and often support more organic and regenerative farming practices.
  4. Public Transit: Taking public transit lowers the emissions per person, and creates less road congestion in our cities.
  5. Bikes and Scooters: Using bikes and scooters lowers our per-mile emissions, and builds demand for more car-free infrastructure. 
  6. Camping & Outdoors: Hiking and camping encourage spending time in nature instead of engaging in more carbon-intensive activities.
  7. Climate Donations: Supporting causes that are taking action against the climate crisis.
  8. Climate or environmental donations: Supporting causes that are taking action against the climate crisis.
  9. EV Charging: Charging an EV instead of burning gasoline generates fewer emissions, especially when charging with renewable energy.
  10. Renewable energy: Switching to renewable energy diverts our money from fossil fuel energy generation.
  11. Solar Panels: Installing solar panels on your home promotes renewable energy, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
  12. Smart Thermostat: Smart thermostats help lower building energy use by regulating space heating and cooling, resulting in lower emissions.
  13. Composting Services: Composting converts organic waste into soil carbon, avoiding landfill methane emissions.
  14. Tailoring & Clothing Repair: Repairing your clothing and footwear reduces waste and limits the need for new products.

You can see more about how we select sustainable companies here.

Start earning rewards

You can start earning rewards now! If you’re new to Commons, download the app and create an account anytime before the end of January 2024 to get started. 

If you’re already a user, you should see the Rewards tracker on your home page. If you don’t see it yet, update the app from your app store to be sure you’re running the latest version.

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Commons team hiking
Thrive Market
Wholesaler of healthy food from leading organic brands
Commons Team
September 18, 2023
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