How Mastercard and SZA Are Working Together to Help Promote Forest Restoration

The singer’s debut performance of Saturn from GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard shines light on the Priceless Planet Coalition.

The power of music should never be underestimated. It inspires, resonates and brings people together. But according to Rustom Dastoor, the executive vice president of marketing and communications for Mastercard North America, music goes beyond unity. It inspires action. This is why Mastercard joined forces with singer-songwriter SZA for their 2024 GRAMMY Awards® campaign to inspire collective action for forest restoration.

ICYMI, SZA, who won three awards that night, debuted “Saturn” in a special performance at GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard. But it wasnt just any run-of-the-mill performance. It was a thoughtful collaboration that highlighted Mastercards mission to help promote global tree restoration.

It takes more than one person or one company to create a scaled impact,” says Dastoor. Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we are merging passion and purpose in a way that, through a major cultural event, rallies people to come together through the power of music to create collective action for the planet’s [essential forests].”

The entire performance, from the outfits down to the song choice, helped highlight the idea of becoming a force of nature. For this, stylist Alejandra Hernandez commissioned a custom look for SZA that paid homage to the rugged beauty of the forest. Think of a top woven with texture mimicking the appearance of roots and a skirt pieced together with fabrics that resembled bits of a tree trunk, both constructed from mostly upcycled materials. But it didn’t end there. For a finishing touch, Hernandez filled little vials with American hornbeam seeds and added them to SZA’s performance outfit.

Then there was the set: a captivating subterranean oasis that seamlessly transformed into a lush forest glade at dawn. Extra vials of seeds were scattered throughout and, naturally, gifted to fans after the performance to grow at home.

And at the centre of it all is SZA, raising awareness of the importance of taking action towards a more sustainable future through Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), which aims to restore 100 million trees around the world. PPC then selects their global plantation sites based on the importance of their impact on climate, communities and biodiversity.

Its an initiative designed to help mitigate the urgent and very real threat of climate change, says Shawna Miller, the senior vice president of marketing and communications at Mastercard Canada. “With our GRAMMY Awards campaign,” she says, “Mastercard reached new depths to bring people together through music for such an important mission and announced the expansion [of the PPC] to Canada in the Thompson Watershed of British Columbia.”

To combat such climate-related disasters as the alarming rates of wildfires on Canada’s west coast, the PPC is supporting efforts to restore forests near the Thompson River Watershed. This region also contains over half of B.C.’s biogeoclimatic zones, which include unique grassland ecosystems, wet mountain ranges and some of the driest regions in Canada. 

But why trees? They’re one of our best defenses for capturing carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Forest restoration also helps reduce the impact of climate-related disasters like floods and droughts. So far, the PPC has expanded globally across six continents with numerous restoration projects.

Whether lifes better on Saturn is up for debate. But what we do know for sure is that were a force of nature when we come together, and Mastercards PPC is a true testament to that. 

Click here to learn more about Mastercard and their creative climate initiatives. 

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