Mastercard says its days of using new plastic to make cards is near an end.
The company announced in a Wednesday (April 5) press release it is speeding up its efforts to remove “first-use” PVC plastics from its payments card by 2028.
“As our customers respond to increased consumer desire to make more eco-friendly choices, we are making a firm commitment to reducing our environmental footprint — for the benefit of people, planet and inclusive growth,” Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard president of cyber and intelligence, said in the release.
To that end, the company said in the release that all new plastic payment cards will be made from more sustainable materials beginning Jan. 1, 2028.
These materials can include recycled or bio-sourced plastics such as rPVC, rPET or PLA1, approved via a certification program in what Mastercard said in the release is a first for a payment network. In addition, the company will help wean its issuing partners off using fresh PVC.
Mastercard, which began its sustainability efforts in 2018, is one of “several players large and small” involved in “the greening of card payments,” as PYMNTS noted on Earth Day last year.
In the days leading up to Earth Day 2022, Bank of America committed to having 80% of its debit and credit cards made from recycled materials by 2023, while Mastercard announced the expansion of a program of linking employee bonuses to achieving ESG goals.
These efforts are happening at a time when sustainability programs have been reshaping the retail sector.
Calls for information about sustainability initiatives have grown so loud that the National Retail Federation (NRF) put out a guide that helps retailers clarify and prioritize their responses to climate change.
“Given growing interest from investors, regulators, supply chain partners, employees and consumers seeking to understand how retailers are responding to climate change, contributors to the guide see value in providing clarity around terms and approaches,” NRF said last year when announcing the publication of its “Retailers Reaching for Net-Zero” guide.
As PYMNTS noted at the time, the sustainability push — whether fueled by conscience, bottom-line considerations or both — is a clear chance and a challenge for retailers. After all, they’re trying to attract and retain environmentally concerned consumers, while also avoiding the wrath of “critics within an increasingly active cancel culture climate.”