How Mastercard is Making a Difference

The 2019 Mastercard Corporate Sustainability Report outlines the company's progress towards building a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy. Looking ahead, our commitment is only growing.
Aug 31, 2020 11:50 AM ET
Blog

In 2018, Mastercard made a strategic shift to refocus the company’s work with the goal of making the digital economy work for everyone, everywhere. It focused on four key areas: financial security, economic development, the future of workers and data science for social impact. We were already seeing amazing results from those investments when the world came to a halt under COVID-19 in early 2020. While the world has changed in ways unimaginable from just a year ago, our focus hasn’t. In fact, the key areas of our work are more relevant than ever. Given how COVID-19 is accelerating the rise of the digital economy, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that no one is left behind.

Mastercard has just released the 2019 Corporate Sustainability Report, which outlines the company’s progress towards building a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy. The report charts impact and progress against four areas, including Inclusive Growth. As of the end of 2019, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has collaborated with 55 research organizations, invested in programs reaching more than 1.5 million people in 30 countries and committed $93.5 million through the Mastercard Impact Fund to support inclusive growth globally.

Looking ahead, we will continue to leverage Mastercard’s data, expertise and technology—along with the philanthropic funding from the Mastercard Impact Fund—to mobilize partnerships that drive investments that fuel inclusive growth. Below are a few examples of what we have achieved in the past year and where we’re focusing our efforts as the world resets. 

We at the Center will continue to invest in sustainable projects and people in our efforts to foster more inclusive growth.

Driving impact through global programs

Digital-first solutions reach 500,000 small businesses: We are working to transform services for 8 million people, 3 million of whom are entrepreneurs, over four years with $15 million in grant funds for Accion from the Mastercard Impact Fund. In 2019, the partnership reached more than 500,000 micro, small and medium enterprises, working with eight fintech startups and six financial service providers (FSPs). The fintechs, two in the U.S. and six in emerging markets, are helping create a more inclusive digital ecosystem for micro-merchants. The FSPs are engaged in a variety of activities including creating a financial inclusion innovation hub, a digital bank within a microfinance institution, a marketplace platform for financial services and expanded outreach through digital lending.

20,000 shopkeepers access affordable credit: In Kenya, 20,000 shopkeepers have registered for the Jaza Duka program, which in partnership with Unilever and Kenya Commercial Bank is helping them gain access to low-interest capital to build up their inventories. Lack of access to financing is the second most-cited obstacle facing small- and medium-sized businesses in emerging markets.   

Entrepreneur training leads to a 20 percent increase in revenue: As a part of the Jaza Duka program, the Center partnered with TechnoServe to provide in-person training for micro-merchants in Kenya on financial management, responsible credit use and more. The program reached more than 4,500 merchants, more than half of whom are women. Shopkeepers reported a nearly 20 percent increase on average in daily revenue as a result. To scale the program, the Center then partnered with Kenya-based social enterprise, Arifu, to give more than 15,000 merchants access to training via free, two-way, SMS messaging. 

4,100 factory workers gain bank accounts: In Egypt, Mastercard is helping factory workers shift from cash wages to more secure and safer digital wages. With industry partners Levi Strauss & Co. and Marks & Spencer, the Center has helped more than 4,100 factory workers—many of them female garment workers—gain bank accounts and more than 575 open digital wallets. The Center has also partnered with the global nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility to offer financial-literacy training to workers and to adapt to different markets its HERfinance program, which helps women better manage their incomes. More than 250 workers received HERfinance Peer Educator Training, who went on to share their learnings with more than 5,600 of their peers.

Underserved communities gain $170 million in investments: The Center is using its data-science expertise to help cities drive investment to underserved communities. With $1 million in grants in 2019 from the Center, Accelerator for America designed economic prospectuses for more than 50 U.S. cities, driving $170 million in investment to those communities. In New Orleans, Mastercard’s data analysts converged on the city for a three-day datathon to quantify the buying power in the historic African American neighborhood of Claiborne Corridor. City planners used the impressive results—based on Mastercard anonymized data—to court new business and bolster its ongoing economic development plan.  

Expanding our commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth

Partners pledged $72 million in funding commitments: With the Aspen Institute, the Center hosted the first Global Inclusive Growth Summit in 2019 bringing together more than 500 global thinkers and doers and securing $72 million in funding commitments to support inclusive growth programs, including Mastercard’s own pledge of $26 million toward the creation of the Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy.

$50 million to advance the field of data science for social impact: In 2019, Mastercard and the Rockefeller Foundation committed $50 million to establish data.org, a collaborative to advance the field of data science for social impact. As part of the initiative, the new Benefits Data Trust will streamline access to food, health care, housing and other essential benefits for low-income people in the U.S. The Trust will deliver at least $2.5 billion in benefits through a combination of digital products, machine learning, policy, research and new partnerships.

Driving sustainable growth to 30 million people: The Center is continuing to expand its groundbreaking Inclusive Growth Score, a robust tool to help cities quantify the social and economic growth potential in underserved U.S. communities. The initial design focused on driving sustainable growth to the more than 30 million people living in more than 8,700 Qualified Opportunity Zones across the U.S. In 2020, the tool was expanded to include all U.S. census tracts.

$5.26 million to help 4 million small businesses in Vietnam, Peru and Pakistan: In partnership with CARE USA, the Center is equipping 3.9 million micro and small businesses in Peru, Pakistan and Vietnam with tools, training, education, products and services to formalize and grow. At least 50% of the businesses reached will be women-owned or operated.

Providing financial literacy training to 100,000 in Indonesia: Over the next three years, Mastercard Academy 2.0 will empower 100,000 school-age children, young adults, entrepreneurs and mid-career professionals in Indonesia with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in the digital economy.

$26 million to continue building an evidence-base for action: The Center will continue to build its rich network of research partners and academic fellows to inform and validate the company’s social impact investments. Since 2019, the Center has contributed $26 million to seed leading research-to-action networks in financial security, worker mobility and an inclusive digital economy. These networks are expected to produce more than 100 action-oriented publications and events by the end of 2020.

As the nation and the globe begin to look ahead to more promising times, we at the Center will continue to invest in sustainable projects and people in our efforts to foster more inclusive growth. We will continue to leverage the company’s expertise, data analytics, technology and partnerships to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. We hope you will join us. 

Check out more content from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth