Did you know that the amount of plastic used to produce banking cards every year is equivalent to the weight of eight Boeing 747s? Thales's global environmental strategy aims to decrease our overall environmental impact, to build a sustainable future we can all trust. A number of eco-friendly products and solutions to substantially reduce the environmental impacts surrounding the production of payment cards and services have been developed by Thales’s Digital Identity and Security (DIS) team. These developments are a step toward a more sustainable future.
In Australia alone, there are around 14 million credit cards in use, equating to a massive 74,000kg of polyvinyl chloride (more commonly known as PVC) - a notoriously difficult material to recycle, just sitting in our wallets or adding to the country’s collective plastic waste.
With sustainability a key focus of Thales Group’s Environment, Social and Governance strategy, our organisation has developed a number of environmentally-friendly bank card solutions certified by Mastercard’s Sustainable Card Program. Their Australian contingent of the program assesses the sustainability claims across industry to promote the uptake of eco-friendly solutions and Thales’ certification demonstrates our contribution to building a sustainable future.
The eco-friendly cards developed and offered by Thales are made with sustainable products, including polylactic acid which is produced from corn, as well as a card produced from plastic waste collected by coastal clean-up operations. There is even a card that is simply made entirely from plastic waste from the packaging and printing industries.
Not only do these Thales products have a low carbon footprint, but Thales also offers a carbon offset option to customers to make the cards carbon neutral.
Although the uptake of these options are still in their early stages, our Melbourne-based Digital Identity and Security team believes there are several Australian banks in the pipeline who are in the process of switching to our sustainable cards. Since Thales’ acquisition of Gemalto in 2019, it may be noticed that some bank cards (for example, those held with ANZ, CITI or ING) are already bearing the mark of Thales’ innovative approach to banking solutions on the reverse of the card.
Whilst the Australian footprint of bank cards sounds large, it’s a relatively small portion of the global market however, changing the way these cards are made by using recycled resources or biodegradable materials could have a significant impact on our environment.