Mastercard has announced that it is accelerating its efforts to phase out first-use PVC plastics from its payment card network by 2028. This move strengthens the company’s sustainability commitments and expands the availability of more sustainable card offerings for consumers looking to reduce the environmental impact of their wallet.
In a first for a payment network, all newly-produced plastic payment cards will be required to be made from more sustainable materials, including recycled or bio-sourced plastics such as rPVC, rPET, or PLA, and approved through a certification program, beginning January 1, 2028. The company will assist its global issuing partners in transitioning away from virgin PVC.
In 2018, Mastercard launched its Sustainable Card Program. Since then, over 330 issuers from 80 countries have signed on, with the goal of transitioning more than 168 million cards across its network to recycled and bio-based materials in collaboration with major card manufacturers. Today’s announcement accelerates these efforts while complementing the company’s ongoing efforts to deliver innovative, digital-first card programs that completely eliminate the need for a physical card offering.
All newly manufactured cards will be certified by Mastercard to assess their composition and sustainability claims, which will then be validated by an independent third-party auditor. After a card has been validated, it can bear the Card Eco Certification mark.
“At Mastercard, we are leading and shaping our industry’s collective pursuit of a more sustainable, environmentally conscious future,” said Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s President of Cyber & Intelligence. “As our customers respond to increased consumer desire for more environmentally friendly choices, we are making a firm commitment to reducing our environmental footprint – for the benefit of people, planet, and inclusive growth.”
Mastercard’s sustainability initiatives began more than a decade ago, with a focus on financial inclusion, data responsibility, and the environment. It works with partners through its network to bring new environmental innovations and initiatives to market, such as our Priceless Planet Coalition, Carbon Calculator, and Sustainable Card.
“Mastercard is committed to driving our business toward net zero emissions and leveraging our network and scale to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, regenerative economy,” said Ellen Jackowski, Mastercard’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
“Today’s announcement from Mastercard is a huge step for financial services,” said Taylan Turan, Group Head of Retail Banking and Strategy, Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC. New sustainable materials, such as rPVC, provide a clear path for our sector to accelerate its efforts to build a more sustainable future.
“As part of our net zero strategy at HSBC, we’ve already introduced recycled plastic payment cards in 28 of our global markets and embedded the requirement to use sustainable materials for all debit, credit, and commercial cards in our product governance, saving 85 tonnes of plastic from landfill.”
This level of impact could not have been achieved without strong collaboration; I am so proud for us to be a part of a global movement.”
Michael Battagliese, Senior Vice President and Head of Payment Solutions at Bank of the West, stated:
“We believe that doing business in a sustainable manner is simply the right thing to do.” That’s why we collaborated with Mastercard on our 1% For The Planet Checking Account debit cards, which are designed to reduce the environmental impact of first-use PVC.
“We are proud to have been one of the first banks in the United States to participate in the sustainable cards program, and we are pleased that Mastercard is on a path to make all payment cards out of more sustainable materials.”