Mastercard, the world’s top credit issuance entity that powers debit and credit cards of issuers such as banks, non-banking finance companies, etc. has recently announced to remove first–use, PVC plastics from payment cards on its network by 2028. This initiative further reinforces the company’s sustainability commitments and scales the accessibility of more sustainable card offerings for consumers seeking a way to reduce the environmental impact of their wallet.
In 2018, Mastercaurd launched its Sustainable Card Program. Since then, 330 issuers across 80 countries have voluntarily signed up. Across the Asia Pacific region, 90 issuers have pledged support to do away with plastic-made debit and cards which cause irreperable harm to the society.
Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Products & Innovation, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, “The world has a plastic problem. Solving it will be a whole-of-society task, yet efforts are often taken in isolation or without coordination. With this sustainable cards effort, Mastercard is bringing its global network of banks, financial institutions and consumers – who collectively hold more than 3 billion Mastercard cards – together to build a greener payments sector through collaboration and partnership.”
“Here in the Asia Pacific region, Mastercard’s issuer partners have been very receptive to this initiative, with 90 customers already opting into the sustainable cards program across Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and many other markets. This means their cardholders can proudly carry their card with the knowledge that it is made from sustainable forms of plastic. This holistic network connectivity is what makes this effort different and more effective,” added Malhotra.
Ellen Jackowski, Chief Sustainability Officer for Mastercard, said “Mastercard is committed to advancing climate action and reducing waste by driving our business toward net zero emissions and leveraging our network and scale to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, regenerative economy”.
Taylan Turan, Group Head of Retail Banking and Strategy, Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC, said “Today’s announcement from Mastercard is a huge step for financial services. New sustainable materials, such as rPVC, offer our sector a clear way to accelerate its efforts to build a more sustainable future”.
“As part of our net zero strategy at HSBC, we’ve already introduced recycled plastic payment cards across 28 of our global markets and embedded the requirement to use sustainable materials for all debit, credit and commercial cards in our product governance; removing 85 tonnes of plastic that would have ended up in landfill. This level of impact couldn’t be achieved without strong partnership; I am so proud for us to be a part of a movement which is gathering momentum across the world.”
For the record, there are more than 168 million cards that have been issued through the Mastercard network, which includes 31 million in the Asia Pacific region. The boom in consumerism in large markets like China and India have propelled the use of plastic cards by users for day to-day transactions. The company aims to deliver digital-first card programs that fully eliminate the need for a physical card.
The rule change will also see all newly made cards certified by Mastercard to assess their composition and sustainability claims; this certification will then be validated by an independent third-party auditor. Once a card has been validated it can be imprinted with a Card Eco Certification mark.
From January 1, 2028, all newly–produced Mastercard plastic payment cards will be made from more sustainable materials – including recycled or bio-sourced plastics such as rPVC, rPET, or PLA1 – and approved through a certification program, a first for a payment network.