For many years, the idea of going green in payments has been limited to linking purchases and accounts with donations to environmental causes and carbon offsets.
These programs have had an impact in terms of awareness and raising much-needed funds. Now, there’s an opportunity to put these efforts into action across a broader part of the payments industry.
Today, Mastercard and card manufacturers Gemalto, Giesecke+Devrient and IDEMIA launched the Greener Payments Partnership to establish environmental best practices and reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing.
Roughly six billion plastic payment cards are made each year, according to The Nilson Report. While Mastercard analysis shows that this is less than 0.015 percent of the volume of plastic manufactured each year, there is room to improve that through the use of alternative materials.
“Consumers are increasingly moving from cash to card as they look for greater security and sustainability,” commented Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence solutions, Mastercard. “This partnership will help us and our industry reduce first-use plastic in cards. Together, we can build on recent research and tests and drive adoption of environmentally friendly materials on a larger scale.”
Research and analysis into recyclable, bio-sourced and bio-degradable materials is already underway and now included in this remit. The partnership commits to accelerating that research with the goal of delivering globally available solutions to reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing in a matter of years.
“Responsible use of natural resources and protection of our climate and environment are core elements of G+D’s Corporate Responsibility policy. We are committed to ensuring that our entire value chain is sustainable and to continuously reducing our ecological footprint. As a participant of the Greener Payment Partnership we work on the standardization of bio-sourced materials in payment cards. It is the way to step forward to an earth-friendly solution, reducing petroleum based materials,” says Gabrielle Bugat, Head of the Financial Services Division at Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security.
The group will also ensure best practices around how materials are evaluated, including environmental impact benefits and the ability to meet increasing consumer concerns around the impact of plastic globally.
“It’s no secret that we all need to change the way we live and consume to reduce the impact we’re having on our planet. For IDEMIA, it’s essential as an industrial leader to effect change for the better and play our part to reduce, for instance, our reliance on plastic,” said Pierre Barrial, executive vice president for financial institutions activities at IDEMIA. “We’re delighted to partner with Mastercard to deliver viable, environmentally friendly alternatives that bring positive change to the industry as a whole.”
“Environmental-friendly products are now a priority for all stakeholders in the payment eco-system,” says Sylvie Gibert, senior vice president of payment cards, Gemalto. “We are committed to supporting this partnership formed by Mastercard, and we have already adopted sustainable practices in our banking card business. This initiative comes at a time where we see a growing interest from the banks for greener cards.”
A Track Record of Sustainability
In 2016, Mastercard partnered with the Finnish Bank of Åland, WWF Finland, KPMG and Gemalto to create a credit card made of renewable and biodegradable materials. This program also provides consumers with suggestions on how they can reduce their carbon footprint and suggests ways they can reduce their impact.
The Green Payments Partnership is just one of the ways Mastercard is looking to encourage more sustainable practices within and outside of the company. The company became the first payments player recognized by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for committing to 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement and is one of only 150 publicly traded companies listed in the Down Jones Sustainability North America Index. In addition, Mastercard has achieved 100 percent renewable energy across its global operations. This comes as the company has diverted 100 percent of its electronic waste and 62 percent of its global waste from landfills.