Mastercard’s database for sustainable payment cards

23 July 2020 by Scott Norvall-Andersen
blog author

Mastercard has joined forces with global industry players to develop a sustainable credit card program in a bid to cut down on single-use plastics.

The financial firm has created a directory that lists sustainable materials and vendors for card products, as more than three quarters of people admit they are “very concerned” about the environment, according to a Mastercard study.

The new directory will promote sustainability for global financial institutions and is a new milestone for the company, leading to the launch of Mastercard card’s global certification scheme for approved sustainable cards.

Its sustainable card offerings are available to consumers in more than a dozen countries and have been issued by more than 60 financial institutions, including DBS Bank (Taiwan) and Crédit Agricole, with Santander issuing cards shortly. The cards are made with approved materials made from recyclable, bio-sourced, chlorine-free, degradable and ocean plastics.

The directory will enable banks to understand more about the alternatives, connect to card manufacturers and build on their own sustainability initiatives for their supply chain.

Mastercard uses its UK Global DigiSec Lab to maximize product innovation and security investments. It has invested in technology that analyses the material makeup of a card, so that customers can be confident that any Mastercard they are issuing from a sustainable material has been evaluated and verified.  The lab is also investing in leading academic research to look at environmentally friendly ways to recycle existing plastic cards.

The company’s latest display of environmental best practice builds on the Greener Payments Partnership (GPP) formed by Mastercard and card manufacturers Gemalto, Giesecke+Devrient and IDEMIA to help reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing.  

Six billion payments cards are produced, usually from PVC, each year which are replaced on average every three to four years, with discarded cards going to landfills across the world.

Ajay Bhalla, president of Cyber & Intelligence, Mastercard, said: “Our goal is simple: we want to help banks offer more eco-friendly cards to consumers, and we are taking concrete steps to bring about that change. 

“This way, everyone benefits – it’s better for the environment, it’s better for business and it meets evolving consumer needs.

“We’re excited to see our efforts gaining traction in so many parts of the world and hope more organizations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these urgent environmental challenges.”

LIM Him Chuan, general manager of DBS Bank (Taiwan), said: “We’re pleased to partner with Mastercard on this important environmental initiative with the new DBS Eco Card, the first credit card in Asia made from polylactic acid — a renewable and biodegradable polymer material that emits no toxic gases during incineration.

“With DBS and Mastercard focused on sustainability, this card underscores our commitment to protecting the environment as the way forward for everyone.”

Marco Briata, head of digital and payments – Crédit Agricole Italia, said: “We know our customers are looking for more sustainable products and looking for ways to effect positive change in the world. This approach has enabled us to not only deliver on a consumer need but also offer a product that’s in line with our corporate sustainability values.”

Earlier this year, Mastercard launched the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a platform designed to unite corporate sustainability efforts and make meaningful investments that help protect the environment.

PPC is pledging to plant 100 million trees over five years, along with its partners, to inspire positive consumer action.