The Celebrity-Backed Green “Fintech” Company That Isn’t as Green as It Seems

You Can Save the Planet with a Swipe of Your Bank Card, or so the enticing proposition made by a company called Aspiration claims. Aspiration promises to take the leftover change from customers’ purchases and use it to plant trees around the world. With celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Robert Downey Jr., and Drake investing in the company, Aspiration has gained quite a bit of attention. However, a closer look into their claims reveals a different story.

Greenwashing or Green Vision?

Aspiration is part of a wave of digital companies that promise to help the environment while offering convenient financial services such as checking accounts, debit cards, and investment accounts. On the surface, the company’s claims seem to justify their “green” image. Aspiration boasts about planting 35 million trees in the past 12 months and offering a mutual fund that is “free” of fossil fuels. But are these claims as solid as they seem?

The Fine Print

Aspiration’s marketing claims often fall short when compared to their legal documents. For instance, the company proudly states that it has “5 million passionate members.” However, the fine print reveals that a “member” is defined as anyone who has ever signed the terms and conditions, even if they never opened an account. In reality, Aspiration only has 592,148 active customer accounts.

Digging Deeper into Tree-Planting

While Aspiration celebrates its tree-planting program, claiming to have planted over 35 million trees, the reality is somewhat different. A closer examination of their disclosures shows that the advertised number includes trees that have not yet been planted. After questioning from ProPublica, Aspiration admitted that the actual number of trees planted is 12 million. It’s important to note that tree-planting initiatives require long-term commitment and proper care for the trees to survive and make a meaningful impact on the ecosystem.

Green Investing with Grey Areas

Aspiration’s mutual fund, Redwood, is marketed as a “fossil-fuel-free fund” investing in sustainable businesses. However, the fund’s latest shareholder report reveals that it owns shares in companies that either heavily rely on fossil fuels or are directly involved in the industry. For example, the fund holds shares in Southwest Airlines, a major emitter of greenhouse gases, surpassing its holdings in sustainable energy stocks. It also has a stake in MSA Safety, a company that sells safety equipment to the oil and gas industry. These inconsistencies raise questions about the fund’s true environmental impact.

The Bottom Line

Aspiration’s claims of being a green “fintech” company are not entirely supported by the facts. While their tree-planting program falls short of the advertised numbers, their mutual fund includes investments that contradict their marketing message. Aspiration’s financial figures are also presented in a way that excludes their significant marketing expenses, a practice uncommon in the industry. It is essential to scrutinize the fine print and look beyond the green image to make informed decisions about where you invest your money.

At Tips Tree Planting, we believe in transparency and providing accurate information to our readers. If you’re interested in learning more about sustainable gardening practices and promoting a green lifestyle, visit our website Tips Tree Planting. Together, we can make a difference for a greener future.