" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> EXCLUSIVE: "The Big Card Cleanup" - Gabrielle Bugat, Giesecke+Devrient in 'The Fintech Magazine'
Thursday, May 23, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: “The Big Card Cleanup” – Gabrielle Bugat, Giesecke+Devrient in ‘The Fintech Magazine’

With billions of plastic payment cards issued every year, G+D believes the industry can and should make a stand for the environment

In 2022, Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) became the first payment solution provider to pledge to remove virgin plastic from its payment cards, a goal it aims to achieve by 2030. Instead, it will use recycled, industrially compostable or biodegradable materials, and is hoping the rest of the industry – collectively responsible for producing more than three billion cards a year – follows suit.

At the time of the announcement, Gabrielle Bugat, who heads G+D’s card and digital payments business, said: “Consumers today are making more conscious decisions than ever before and are increasingly aware of the impact their actions have on the environment. Banks are therefore looking for payment solutions that enable them to address the need for convenience and
reliability, but that also allow them to meet expectations around sustainability.

“By eliminating virgin plastic, we are taking an important step in helping them to do so. With G+D, banks have a reliable partner at their side that protects their environmental credibility.”

The company signalled its commitment to help clean up the planet by becoming one of 24 German businesses to participate in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Ambition in late 2020. The six-month programme helped them set ambitious corporate targets and integrate the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into core business management. G+D pledged to reduce its direct and indirect CO2 emissions by 25 per cent by the end of 2022, while supporting customers and end-consumers in reducing theirs.

This year it also announced two new partnerships: with sustainable digital solutions provider Doconomy, to increase visibility for consumers around the environmental impact their purchases have; and with Patch.io, an API-based climate action solution that enables customers to influence the environmental outcomes of those payments by, for example, making carbon offsetting donations. This can be achieved by using G+D’s Convego Beyond sustainable payments facilitation platform.

“The card conveys something about us and our values, so it’s only normal that sustainability now plays a part in cards”

Gabrielle Bugat, G+D

The company is also working with Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit group campaigning for greater awareness of plastic contamination at sea, affording clients and their customers the opportunity to support a specific environmental action. As well as getting behind conscious consumerism, Bugat argues that such initiatives are helping card issuers live up to their increasingly demanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting standards “Sustainability plays a role everywhere,” she says.

“The card conveys something about us and our values, so it’s only normal that sustainability now plays a part in cards.

“Customers receive their new cards with paper, we can present all those flyers in a digital way. It’s also about knowing the carbon footprint of what the cards buy, so we’re working with partners to give people information on their carbon footprint and enabling them to compensate for that. According to a recent Mastercard study, 58 per cent of consumers are more mindful of the impact they have on the environment, with 85 per cent willing to take personal action to mitigate it.

Mastercard has committed to making its cards sustainably from ‘recyclable, recycled, bio-sourced, chlorine-free, degradable or ocean plastics’ and, in 2021, launched the Mastercard Sustainable Materials Directory to help issuers offer more eco-friendly cards.

More than 100 financial institutions, including Santander and Starling, are offering sustainable card programmes in more than 30 countries, and receive a certification badge from Mastercard. Mastercard is one of many significant brands G+D is working with on the end-of-life recycling of its cards. Another is Santander Spain, which it helps to recycle expired and damaged cards into street furniture the bank then donates to public institutions. G+D estimates that 400,000 recycled cards equates to two tonnes of PVC or 130 public benches.

Rüdiger Vogt, G+D’s head of Payments 4.0, is proud of the company’s green efforts, which also include commitments to reduce water consumption in its manufacturing plants, sending zero waste to landfill by 2030, and becoming a net zero carbon emitter by 2040. Its north star is for 75 per cent of G+D’s revenue to be based on green products by that point.

“Sustainability is in our DNA as a family-owned company, passing on the business from generation to generation, and we need to make sure it will flourish and add value for all stakeholders,” he says. “We have a very clear agenda and continue to explore innovative and sustainable materials, rooting all phases of our product design in sustainability, from the initial idea generation, to material selection and end-of-life recycling.”


This article was published in The Fintech Magazine Issue 25, Page 91

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