Eco-friendly credit cards
Developing an eco-friendly card's life cycle strategy is part of a more global approach where banks have to select technology, process, and products which result in a substantial reduction of their carbon footprint and the development of sustainable practices.
Thales, with its payment card solutions and services, is supporting banks in taking actions towards environmental-friendly practices and sustainability.
In particular, the company has developed a full set of tools that enables its banking clients to build a consistent green strategy that moves beyond empty environmental claims.
Our contribution covers every aspect of a bank card’s life, from bio-sourced materials to eco-packaging produced by a manufacturer with a robust environmental policy.
Thales Gemalto's suite of green banking tools is built on four key pillars:
2. alternative materials,
3. green factory,
4. end of life management.
#1 Implement processes to accelerate dematerialisation
Our services help reduce the excessive and unnecessary volume of printed documents (such as personalised card carriers, inserts, PIN mailers..) associated with delivering and activating cards, sharing information with cardholders and providing issuers with reporting solutions.
- The Thales Gemalto card carrier compiler tool enables you to manage advanced carrier design and implement frequent online content updates and so scale down the number of leaflets you need to bundle with a card.
- We also offer PIN by SMS. This innovative and secure solution for delivering PINs and PIN reminders via text messages means you can cut both mailout print runs and postage costs.
- Our Thales Gemalto Card Companion application links payment cards with smartphones to make it easy for you to contact cardholders whenever you want, without using paper.
- Our Thales web portal is available to monitor the production and personalisation of cards. An electronic invoicing is available upon request.
#2 Use alternative materials
Organic and non-toxic cards
Our MasterCard and Visa-approved bio-sourced bank card is made from polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic substitute for biodegradable cards. Using renewable sources such as corn, it can be recycled back to its initial resin over and over again without loss of quality. It is non-petroleum based and non-toxic if incinerated.
PLA is compatible with magstripe, contact, and dual interface card technologies. Thales is currently the only company providing this kind of card body technology for banking cards.
And there's more.
A complete range of eco-friendly packaging is also available, enabling smart delivery of your banking cards while reducing your impact on the environment.
Mediolanum is launching the new sustainable card made of PLA to reduce PVC use of more than 80% in payment cards.
Reclaimed plastic cards
Thales believes in diverting the plastic from the waste stream, especially the plastic waste produced by the end consumer.
To achieve this goal, Thales decided to work on Post-Consumer Recycling.
The company is introducing Thales Gemalto Reclaimed Ocean Cards: Using plastic reclaimed from coastal areas, which would otherwise end up in our oceans, to build payment cards made of 70% recycled plastic.
#3 Source from a green supplier
Thales global environmental policy aims to manage our overall environmental impact.
So not only do we ensure eco-friendly delivery of our products, but we also embrace green manufacturing practices – as the ISO 14001 certifications of all our significant sites testify.
We also promote eco-design at every stage, from product conception to re-engineering.
Let us show you how.
This process covers the product's environmental impact, such as resource consumption and emissions during manufacturing to waste and end-of-life disposal.
Thales offers all its customers a “carbon offset” solution to compensate greenhouse gas emissions generated by card production. This option provides financial support to energy-saving and renewable energy programs that create “carbon credits”.
#4 Manage card's end-of-life (Manage cards recycling process)
Many people ask themselves what to do with old credit cards, "how to dispose of old credit cards" or even "how to destroy credit cards" once they reach end-of-life or when they need to renew them.
The good news?
We can definitively help you find the right answer for your customers.
Thales role is to facilitate your end-of-life cards management by acting as an intermediary between our clients and partner recycling companies.
Thales has started working with a long-term partner in Europe for banking card recycling process. This involves recovering the energy from the plastic through the incineration process.
The metals are also recycled and then sent for use in other industries, such as jewellery making and gold wire for circuits.
This is hugely beneficial, as 0% of these materials end up in a landfill.
Additionally, Thales aims to carry out this process in Europe to mitigate the carbon footprint further. Thales has also developed next-generation products by putting recycling at the heart of the design process.
This includes removing unnecessary components to make the recycling possible – such as taking away magnetic stripes or the traditional signature panel which prevent recycling. This also means working on a simplified color design on the cards.
The pioneer of sustainable payment card, Doconomy (Sweden), sets the example again: the card comes with mono color printing, light signature panel and without magnetic strips. This is not only an eye-catching design but also a way of putting recycling at the heart.
Card recycling is undoubtedly a challenge for many banks, but with rapid advances happening all the time across the sector, there is a real opportunity to drive change.
With increased consumer expectations regarding environmental initiatives, Thales can offer a complete set of tools to build a consistent green package that goes beyond greenwashing* claims.
*The term “Greenwashing” is used to refer to communications put out by companies on their progress in terms of sustainable development, without any real action being taken to back up the claims.
Greenwashing is a contraction of the words green and brainwashing.
About smart card technology
Smart card technology is an excellent Green IT tool.
It is a very familiar portable object with a rather long life-cycle (several years) and an extremely low carbon footprint (equivalent to just 1 km by car per card manufactured).
Besides, it has a very low electric consumption (only seconds and when in use).