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MASTERCARD LAUNCHES ONGOING FORESTS FOR OUR FUTURE(TM) PROGRAM ALLOWING CATALOG SHOPPERS TO HELP IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT

 MASTERCARD LAUNCHES ONGOING FORESTS FOR OUR FUTURE(TM) PROGRAM
 ALLOWING CATALOG SHOPPERS TO HELP IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT
 NEW YORK, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The concept of "shopping for a better world" has come home -- home to the nearly 100 million Americans who shop by catalog each year. Thanks to the MasterCard Forests For Our Future program, shopping by mail or phone gives consumers the opportunity to give a gift to the environment with every purchase they make.
 Set to launch Monday, Sept. 28, the MasterCard Forests For Our Future program offers customers of participating catalogs the opportunity to have trees planted on public lands that have been damaged by pollution and/or natural disasters every time they place an order. To initiate a tree-planting at no cost to them, catalog shoppers need only pay for their order using their MasterCard card and complete a special request form that will be included with their merchandise delivery.
 First introduced as a pilot program for the holiday shopping period in 1991 with 40 participating catalogs, the Forests For Our Future program succeeded in planting over 100,000 new trees. Based on this successful introduction, MasterCard has expanded Forests For Our Future into a yearlong program.
 A key new feature of the expanded program is a toll-free consumer hotline number. By calling 1-800-332-1214, consumers can get a detailed, up-to-date list of all catalogs participating in the program.
 The tree plantings are fully funded by MasterCard and conducted by the American Forests' Global ReLeaf organization. The program's overall goal is to plant a total of one million new trees.
 "During last year's pilot program, we received hundreds of unsolicited consumer testimonials making us aware of the overwhelming popularity of our Forests For Our Future program," stated Walter Rothschild, vice president of Merchant Marketing for MasterCard. "Because the short-term program was so well received by consumers, as well as catalog merchants, we wanted to make Forests For Our Future an ongoing initiative so that even more catalog companies and their customers would have the opportunity to participate in this meaningful environmental program," noted Rothschild.
 MasterCard will kick off the expanded Forests For Our Future program with a high-profile tree-planting event in Oakland, Calif., to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the devastating Oakland-area fires. With the assistance of Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris and a group of local elementary schoolchildren, MasterCard, Global Releaf and its local affiliate Easy Bay ReLeaf, will plant a grove of trees in the schoolyard of Oakland's Webster Elementary School. Throughout the year, MasterCard will sponsor additional major-market tree-planting events that will also involve community participation.
 A new aspect of the MasterCard/Global ReLeaf partnership is an alliance with the Walden Woods Foundation and its founder, internationally renowned rock superstar and environmental activist Don Henley. Henley will help spread the word about the Forests For Our Future campaign and how MasterCard member financial institutions will be supporting the Walden Woods Foundation by underwriting groves of trees grown from the seedlings of historic Walden Woods trees. These trees will be planted by children in inner-city schoolyards across the country, thereby teaching students about American history and environmental issues.
 "Our research shows that American consumers share an ever-growing concern for the environment. By offering our cardholders an easy, no- cost participatory program that positively impacts the environment, we are not only engendering their goodwill, but we are also succeeding in making them partners in rebuilding America's forests and ecosystems," concluded Rothschild.
 -0- 9/20/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Apesos of MasterCard International, 212-649-5476, or Linda Levi or Kerry Kronfeld of The Rowland Company, 212-527-8800, for MasterCard International/ CO: MasterCard International ST: New York, California IN: SU: PDT


TM-OS -- NY001 -- 1421 09/20/92 16:30 EDT
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Date:Sep 20, 1992
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