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.
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?