HSBC’s major sustainability vow: Cards to be made only from recycled plastic by 2026

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The UK banking giant HSBC is launching a new program to introduce sustainable payment cards across its global operations and plans to eliminate single-use PVC plastic by switching to recycled PVC plastic (rPVC) for its payment cards, by the end of 2026.

By partnering with global card manufacturer IDEMIA, the bank will bring new cards gradually across its locations. Early this year, HSBC started the rollout in Malaysia and will continue in Sri Lanka, UAE, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Macau, Mexico, Singapore, UK and US by the end of 2021.

The program which includes HSBC’s debit, credit and commercial cards, is part of the bank’s plan to cut down its carbon emissions and achieve net-zero in its operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner.

Considering the current volume of cards issued by HSBC per year (23 million), the shift to rPVC will help the bank to reduce CO2 emissions by 161 tonnes a year. Each card will also reduce plastic waste of about 73 tonnes per year, which is the weight of over 40 cars.

Daniel Robinson, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC UAE, stated “This is an important step towards HSBC achieving its goal of being net-zero in its own operations by 2030. The private sector has a vital role to play in reducing global carbon emissions and it is imperative that we take action now to build a sustainable future.”

Amanda Gourbault
Amanda Gourbault
EVP – Financial Institutions

“IDEMIA is proud to be a long-term global partner of HSBC and to be supporting its sustainability goals with our GREENPAY solution. Manufactured from waste materials, rPVC cards significantly reduce plastic waste, which is one of the most pressing problems of our modern world. Migrating to recycled plastic also saves energy, limits oil consumption and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, to help mitigate global warming and reduce air pollution.”

To conserve the life of users’ existing cards for as long as possible, recycled plastic cards will only be issued as their old cards naturally expire. Customers requiring new or replacement cards will be the first recipients of rPVC cards. The availability of the cards will vary by location, as each country joins the program. 

The switch to rPVC is the first step in a gradual transition to issue cards made from sustainable materials, and HSBC will continue to evaluate other alternative materials too, the bank stated.

Global research conducted for HSBC by Mintel found that nearly 77 percent of consumers believe ‘financial services firms have an important role to play in creating a more sustainable society when it comes to their appetite for payment cards made from sustainable materials.’

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