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Will an eco loyalty card make us shop more sustainably?

Sign saying 'conscience just ahead'

A new reward scheme for farm shops and eco-friendly retailers aims to play the supermarkets at their own loyalty card game, giving shoppers points for sustainable choices. But will it take off?

Ice is a new, free-to-join loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers with credits for buying from one of its ‘carefully selected’ sustainable partners. These turn into cash to spend on other eco products and services.

You collect credits for every £2 you spend (the amount differs according to which shop you’re buying from), which are in turn worth a cash value of at least 1p.

It’s early days for the scheme, but along with rewards for shopping at local farm shops and some small eco-outlets, you can also collect credits by booking a Eurostar train ticket, buying chocolate from the Green & Black’s website and recycling your mobile phone for cash.

Making going green rewarding

Of course, we could ponder on how any shopping reward scheme could be deemed ‘green’ when it’s effectively awarding people for consuming more, not less. But the underlying idea behind Ice – rewarding people for making greener product choices – certainly sounds laudable to me.

Partners are selected based on their ‘best in class’ environmental credentials. Shoppers consciously choosing locally-sourced produce, an item that saves energy or one that’s made from recycled materials don’t miss out on the loyalty discounts they’ve come to expect from shopping with big brands on the high street.

Sustainably shopping

I, for one, am a sucker for a shopping reward scheme. In fact, my poor purse is bulging with a colourful array of cards I’ve signed up for over the years. Some (Boots Advantage card) used far more often than others (I’m not sure what a Matalan card actually rewards me with).

And perhaps therein lies a big challenge for Ice. It will have a tough job on its hands to shout loudly enough to get its scheme heard, understood and actually used alongside the Nectar Card (the nation’s biggest) et al – and not just relegated to the bottom of people’s wallets.

What do you think about the scheme – will Ice be getting your custom?

Sophie Gilbert says:
1 February 2011

Yes, Ice will be getting my custom if it comes to my area. Next I want to be rewarded for taking back my glass bottles to the shops I bought them from, just like in the olden days. Next I want to be rewarded for every kilo of metal or paper I recycle. And so on and so forth (unless it means a loss of income to some charities that already get paid per kilo of, say, textiles). I buy “green” when I can afford it and I recycle everything I’m allowed to by my council, but money is what most people understand. If money is what it takes to get most people to “act green”, I’m all for any scheme that exploits this.

I like the idea of this in theory, but like Kelly, I’ve got reservations about the scale of the scheme. Ok, it probably has to start small, but the people who buy from ‘local farm shops and small eco-outlets’ are already buying green – it’s the people who DON’T make an effort to go to these places that need encouragement. Sadly, until bigger retailers get on board and offer rewards, it probably won’t make much difference. I’d love it to encourage people into the smaller, independent shops, but without more awareness, I can’t see it happening. Will be interesting to see if I’m wrong though – hopefully I will be!

Fofocas dos Artistas says:
20 September 2012

Wow, wonderful blog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging glance easy. The whole glance of your website is fantastic, as smartly as the content!

Caroline Cooke says:
15 March 2017

I use ICE and now I’ve found this new website which gives money back, you don’t have to spend points on the their site. They just give you the money and add carbon offsets for free. It’s called Shop 2 Save the Planet (www.shop2savetheplanet.co.uk)