Mastercard has sustainable alternatives to 6 billion non-recyclable and virgin plastic payment cards




A Mastercard survey has revealed that more than 75% of people say they are “very concerned” about the environment and feel companies should be doing more to address their impact on the planet.

To address the issue Mastercard has worked with global industry players to develop a global sustainable card programme for card issuers.


Mastercard’s sustainable cards are available in over a dozen countries globally and more than 60 financial institutions have issued cards with approved materials made from recyclable, bio-sourced, chlorine-free, degradable and ocean plastics.

These institutions include Crédit Agricole and Mauritius Commercial Bank, as well as Santander, which will issue cards shortly


This initiative will lead to the launch of Mastercard’s global certification scheme for approved sustainable cards.

It builds on the Greener Payments Partnership (GPP) formed by Mastercard and card manufacturers Gemalto, Giesecke+Devrient and IDEMIA in 2018 to establish environmental best practices and reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing.

Six billion payments cards are produced each year, typically from PVC.

These cards are replaced on average every three to four years, with discarded cards going to landfills across the world. “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,” says 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 organisations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these urgent environmental challenges.”


Mastercard’s Global DigiSec Lab in the UK, which works to maximise product innovation and security investments, has invested in technology that analyses the material makeup of a card to assess environmental claims on behalf of the industry, so that customers can be confident that any Mastercard they are issuing from a sustainable material has been evaluated and independently verified.

In addition, the Lab is investing in academic research related to environmentally friendly ways to recycle existing plastic cards.

“We know our customers are looking for more sustainable products and looking for ways to effect positive change in the world,” says Marco Briata, Head of Digital & Payments – Crédit Agricole Italia.

“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.”