In 2020, iCard officially joined forces with the nature protection organisation WWF Bulgaria within the framework of a three-year strategic partnership called “Together for the Wild Nature”. Since then, we have taken many bold actions with one main goal – to save and restore precious natural resources for a better future.
Let us share some details of how we manage to give more to nature than we take from it and attract more people to the bright side.
Today, our planet’s environment is facing unprecedented challenges. One example of such a challenge has become a symbol of our partnership with WWF Bulgaria – the fate of bears.
There are only eight species of bears left in the world. According to official data, there are no more than 600 brown bears in Bulgaria, and their number is constantly decreasing. Every year, about 100 bears in the country lose their lives due to poaching.
WWF Bulgaria is working to tackle the problem:
- Studying the places of potential conflict between bears and people.
- Protecting the animals’ habitats.
- Reducing illegal logging and poaching.
- Rescuing and caring for the bear population.
- Preventing conflicts between bears and local communities.
Any help added to these efforts of the WWF Bulgaria team is of great importance for the conservation of species diversity, including brown bears in Bulgaria.
We decided to take the future into our own hands and act without further ado.
We are confident that together with our partners and clients, we have the power to change the sad statistics and restore harmony to the relationship between nature and people.
How do we help the environment?
- We have created a first-of-its-kind series of innovative financial solutions for easy, fast, and transparent fee-free donations.
- We raise public awareness of wildlife issues.
- We raise funds to address environmental issues.
- We build a donation culture and attract regular contributors and long-term supporters.
- We promote responsible consumption and biodiversity conservation.
- We create business practices for sustainable development.
Innovative financial tools for quick and easy donations
We have taken to heart the mission to create an ecosystem of financial solutions for donating funds. We are working to make it one of the everyday activities of the average person.
All these donations are transparent, instant, and fee-free.
- First, we added the donations to WWF Bulgaria in the “Donations with iHeart” menu in the digital wallet. That is how we enabled every iCard customer to donate to WWF Bulgaria regardless of where they live.
- Everyone who uses iCard ATMs in Bulgaria also has the opportunity to donate in support of WWF Bulgaria’s campaigns.
- We introduced the WWF Eco GiftCard – a prepaid card with a panda design. With each purchase of the new plastic GiftCard, we donate to WWF Bulgaria. We also contribute to the green cause with each payment with the card.
- Together with WWF Bulgaria and Mastercard, we issued a co-branded debit card – The Bear Card, available to cardholders from Bulgaria. It is this card that has become the flagship of our partnership.
The Bear Card
We made it possible for every person in the country to use the digital wallet and this extraordinary debit card to support the environmental protection activities of WWF Bulgaria. That’s how we started a revolution in regular donations.
The Bear Card is the first card for donations issued in Bulgaria. It is a powerful pocket weapon for anyone who wants to join the fight for a brighter future for wildlife. The card is made of 75% recyclable materials, and its carbon footprint is much smaller than the carbon footprint of a standard PVC debit card.
Every payment with the card helps to protect the wild nature in Bulgaria: iCard and Mastercard donate BGN 0.20 for every POS payment with the card. In addition, we grant the service fee (BGN 4.99 per month or BGN 55.00 per year) to WWF Bulgaria and their efforts dedicated to rivers, forests, protected areas, and their inhabitants.
We have added practical benefits for the cardholders to make the card even more attractive: 5 free withdrawals from ATMs in the EU every month, an unlimited number of free transfers in BGN (BISERA), and an extended validity of the card (3 years). The card’s design never goes unnoticed when the card is in your hand – the photo of a family of brown bears always makes quite an impression.
The sweetest way to save nature
To show our gratitude to the biggest enthusiasts who supported the efforts of WWF Bulgaria’s bear rescue team, we sent a gift to the first 200 people who ordered The Bear Card. We sent each of them a jar of honey – a favourite bear treat. We packaged and branded pure Bulgarian honey from an adopted beehive, i.e. honey produced especially for The Bear Card cardholders. In this way, we promoted another important cause supporting nature – the protection of bees.
The dark and scary “Fairytales of the Future” book
Have you heard of tales that children don’t like? We published the book “Fairytales of the Future” to tell the audience what our future would look like if the bleak predictions came true – if endangered animals disappeared because we didn’t do enough to save them. Do you remember the tale of the ugly duckling who turns into a beautiful swan? And the story in which the persistent turtle manages to beat the rabbit in a running race?
We all like to go back to our favourite stories from childhood. Can we imagine what it would be like if the main characters disappeared from the plot and the real world? What will happen if no bears are left in the forest, if the rabbit has no one to compete with, if the wolf disappears from the tale of Little Red Riding Hood?
The “Fairytales of the Future” nationwide campaign in Bulgaria
We decided to draw the public’s attention to environmental issues by approaching the topic unconventionally. We popularised the “Tales of the Future” campaign among a wide range of people with different social profiles. After publishing the small but significant book of dystopian stories, we distributed it to the major bookstores in the country. The cover, on which only the empty silhouette of the bear remained, was not ignored.
We got many public figures involved in the campaign – famous performers, politicians, intellectuals, and influencers. Our main goal was to remind society about the problems facing the coexistence of wild animals and people in the country and to help solve them together.
The campaign was successful, gained media attention and became a topic of discussion among young and old social groups. “Fairytales of the Future” won the bronze award in the “Campaign – Services” category at the most prominent advertising festival in Bulgaria – FARA, for 2022.
“The change starts with you”
At iCard, we believe that the transformation for a better future starts with ourselves. That is why we have adopted proven sustainable practices and implemented them not only in the business model we follow but also in the day-to-day life of our team.
We have ended water consumption in single-use plastic bottles at iCard offices. We commissioned the production of branded reusable bags, glass bottles, and food boxes for all employees – over 260 people. We use environmentally friendly materials to produce the office supplies we need and the merchandising goods we distribute. And most importantly, we were the first card issuer in Bulgaria to start issuing payment cards made from recycled materials.
We are about to conduct a specialized audit and further optimise work processes in the company so that we leave an ever-smaller carbon footprint.
Our team likes to set the bar high not only when it comes to success on the fintech industry scene. It is crucial for us to have a personal contribution to the achievements of our partners from the environmental protection organisation WWF Bulgaria. Achieving the big goal of nature conservation goes through many small victories in our everyday life, and that’s why we participate in WWF’s volunteer initiatives whenever we can.
Just one example: we celebrated the European day of the ecological network “Natura 2000” by joining a volunteer initiative to plant acorns near the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. Our team worked alongside experts and foresters to plant as many trees as possible in containers. In a few years, they will grow into saplings, and later, they will lay the foundations of a new forest – a new home to many protected plants and animals.
Good, better, best deeds
We look forward to initiating more CSR projects that will expand the scope of good deeds and allow more people to get involved. We are discussing more partnerships with our friends from WWF, both local (by country) and all across Europe. We’ll keep you updated.
How to support WWF Bulgaria now?
Until then, don’t forget that you can support the work of the WWF Bulgaria team through the digital wallet. Log into iCard, “Menu” tab, head to “Donations with iHeart”, and select WWF Bulgaria to make a one-time, recurring, or round-up donation.
Learn more about iCard and our CSR: https://icard.com/
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