Mastercard: driving sustainability in the payment industry

By Georgia Wilson
Mastercard announces its latest efforts to drive sustainability within the payment industry...

“More than three quarters of people say they are “very concerned” about the environment and feel companies should be doing more to address their impact on the planet. As consumers look for ways to help tackle climate change through their own positive actions, many are limiting their use of single-use plastics,” commented Mastercard in a company statement. 

In its efforts to address this, Mastercard has been working with global organisations to develop a ‘sustainable card program’ for its card users around the world. With its new directory of sustainable materials and vendors for card products, Mastercard aims to make sustainable choices and drive enhanced innovation.

In its announcement, Mastercard’s new sustainable card offerings are available in multiple countries around the world in over 60 financial institutions who have issued cards with approved materials made from recyclable, bio-sourced, chlorine-free, degradable and ocean plastics. Such institutions include Crédit Agricole and Mauritius Commercial Bank and Santander.

“With this resource, banks can learn more about these alternatives, connect to card manufacturers and ultimately augment their own sustainability initiatives with a systemic change to their supply chain,” added Mastercard.

With six billion payment cards produced each year - typically from PVC which are then replaced on average every three to four years, with discarded cards going to landfills - the announcement is the latest milestone for Mastercard in its effort to launch its global certification scheme for approved sustainable cards. 

The launch builds on its Greener Payments Partnership (GPP), the partnership was formed by Mastercard, Gemalto, Giesecke+Devrient and IDEMIA in 2018, to establish environmental best practices and reduce first use of PVC plastics when manufacturing cards.  

“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,” commented Ajay Bhalla, president of Cyber & Intelligence, Mastercard. “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.”

Continuously within its operations, Mastercard invests in new technology and resources to drive learning and insight within the global market to support sustainable choice across the payment industry.

“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,” added Marco Briata, Head of Digital & Payments - Crédit Agricole Italia.

“MCB is fully committed towards protecting the environment and our local heritage. We are converting our cards portfolio to Polylactic Acid (PLA), which reduces traditional PVC use by more than 80%. In addition, every time that a customer uses our Mastercard debit card, we make a contribution to the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to save threatened Mauritian species through the restoration of entire ecosystems,” says Stephanie Ng Tseung, Head of Cards at MCB.

Making Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) central to its business model, Mastercard applies the full scale and scope of its technology, partnerships and people to drive inclusive and sustainable growth for all. 

To find out more about Mastercard’s sustainability commitments, click here!

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