Any initiative with cricket gets mass reach: Manasi Narasimhan [Interview]

In an exclusive chat, Manasi Narasimhan from Mastercard spoke about the importance of the Priceless Planet Coalition and the thought behind children walking with the cricketers.

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Master card. (Photo Source: Twitter/MasterCard)

India began the ongoing ODI series against Australia on a high note as they beat the visitors by five wickets in Mumbai on March 17. While there were some exciting performances from each side, one of the highlights were the 22 children walking out with the players with potted plants at the iconic Wankhede Stadium. 

The initiative was part of Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), which aims to highlight the significance of reforestation to counter climate change. Mastercard's Priceless Planet Coalition unites businesses, communities, and consumers in climate action, with over 100 partners worldwide, including environmentally conscious merchants, fintech and global banks. Mastercard and its partners hope to restore 100 million trees globally and one million trees in India by 2025 through this program. 

The Priceless Planet Coalition has 18 restoration projects around the world, ensuring that Mastercard and its partner organisations can meet their climate, community and biodiversity commitments to the fullest. The PCC initiative is focused on creating jobs and improving livelihoods, in addition to using ecological and social metrics to track the amount of carbon neutrality generated and progress on tree growth and survival rates.

In an exclusive interview with CricTracker, Manasi Narasimhan, VP & Head, Marketing & Communications, South Asia, Mastercard, spoke about the importance of the initiative and the thought behind children walking with the cricketers.  

Here are the excerpts: 

How did Mastercard come up with the idea of Priceless Planet Coalition?

Mastercard has always believed in this philosophy of doing well by doing good, and unfortunately, one of the challenges our planet and the life of future generations is facing is deforestation. This is a global initiative, and the goal is to plant 100 million trees in five years. So, we have taken this up to create as much awareness as possible. 

Is Priceless Planet Coalition an India-exclusive initiative or a global focus for the brand?

Yes, this is a global one, but obviously, deforestation is a problem everywhere in the world Mastercard launched on a global platform and then customize for individual markets. This is absolutely a global initiative. 

How did Mastercard come up with the idea of having children walk with cricketers?

How did we think of cricket to promote this? See, this is fairly simple. Given the love of cricket in India, and the reach of any initiative with cricket gets mass reach and mass awareness, and that is what we need to do. So essentially, as anybody who is a parent knows. I am a mom of two children, and children are the best educators. When they believe in something, they will ensure that everyone else also believes in it. So, we basically said, if we can get the kids out there it fulfils two objectives - one is to make kids aware, and second to give the kids what we call a priceless experience, which is something money cannot buy and something that they will remember and talk about forever. And I can assure you as a mom if either of my sons were to go out there holding a player’s hand, they will talk about it for the rest of their life. That is truly priceless and that is the brand coming to life. 

Has Mastercard already brought the program into effect?

The initiative is already on. We have been doing this for a year now in various parts of the globe and we will continue to look for what other partnerships we can get. This is about organisations and people coming together to achieve the goal. It Is a big goal and a very important goal. 

India has various zones with severe cases of deforestation, so what is the reason behind choosing the Dalma-Similipal elephant corridor in Jharkhand and Odisha?

Honestly, I do not know the specifics about why that particular one was chosen, but there is no particular place or reason for planting trees, like with any other problem’s solution, everyone does what they can and where they can. And together that coalition that sum will be greater than the individual part. I am sure there was a particular reason to choose this corridor. Maybe it has to do with climatic conditions, I really do not know, but it is about having an impact. 

Can we understand how the partnership with BCCI is helping Mastercard promote Priceless Planet Coalition? 

The BCCI partnership is a very large one and as I said, cricket has monumental reach in this country. Any message that you want to promote through cricket gets a lot of reach. So, one is to promote environmental awareness. The other thing, a little earlier, we ran this campaign for more people to watch Women’s cricket, that is something that the country is marching towards that. We did our part in doing that. So, with this partnership, we are looking to see what all we can plug in, send messages around doing well by doing good.

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