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#Payment Technology #Annual Report

How payment cards are cleaning up the oceans

Annual Report
10 Mins.

Can we use payment cards made of plastic and still be environmentally friendly? Yes, we can! An increasing number of cards in the G+D portfolio contribute towards protecting the environment and help our customers achieve their own climate targets. This commitment forms part of our corporate responsibility.

Combating climate change is one of the biggest tasks that humankind will face in the coming years. Businesses play a critical role here in finding solutions to tackle this global challenge. G+D is pursuing its own sustainability and environmental protection strategy in order to conserve resources and boost energy efficiency. As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of card-based payment and security solutions, we also want to help our customers achieve their own sustainability targets. An increasing number of banks and financial institutions are signing on to the UN’s Principles for Responsible Banking. In doing so, they are committing themselves to sharing responsibility for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. “A climate-friendly product and service portfolio also helps our business partners to attract and retain environmentally conscious customers,” says Barnabás Ferenczi, Head of Strategy & Marketing in the Smart Card and Digital Payment business of G+D.

Protecting the climate means reducing both resource consumption and harmful emissions. G+D is achieving this through multiple strategies in the payment card market. Our environmentally friendly payment card products were consolidated under the Convego Beyond brand in 2020. These products include the Convego Recycled card – the first of its kind to have a card body made entirely of recycled PVC. We are thus able to work with our customers to design specially tailored end-of-life solutions in which the environmental impact of a product is considered and minimized throughout its entire lifecycle. The cards in the Convego Natural range consist of a material derived from biomass. Their card bodies are therefore not made of petrol based plastic – even though the material has similar characteristics and strength – and they are fully compostable (under industrial conditions). No additional greenhouse gases are released during the combustion process.

“The Convego Parley Ocean card range, launched in 2021, is especially innovative. It was developed in conjunction with environmental organization Parley for the Oceans. We use plastic waste collected from the world’s oceans and beaches to produce these cards,” says Ferenczi. Founded in 2012 by German designer Cyrill Gutsch, Parley is a private network comprising companies and individuals who want to stop garbage from entering the ocean ecosystem. The idea is to recycle existing plastic as a material called Ocean Plastic and use it in a variety of other products. At the same time, business models are being developed in which less plastic, or none at all, is used for goods or packaging.

In order to ensure that environmental protection is not restricted to specific product segments, we have been calculating the product carbon footprint (PCF) of payment cards throughout their entire lifecycle and identifying potential savings since 2019. For example, PINs for cards can be sent to customers via text message instead of by mail. We’ll also soon be in a position to offer completely climate-neutral products. These will require customers to offset the CO2 emissions of their purchases by investing in a climate project.

G+D is working on sustainable and climate-neutral solutions in many other areas of its portfolio as well, such as in the SIM card segment. For example, we not only use 50 percent less plastic to manufacture our Half SIM, a half-size phone SIM card, but the smaller card body is also approximately 40 percent lighter than similar products, meaning its transport-related CO2 footprint is significantly reduced. We also offer eSIM cards that can be permanently installed as a chip when a device is manufactured. Personalization is then carried out remotely by providing the network operator-specific data online or via mobile communications or Wi-Fi. This eliminates the need for a plastic card body. The logistics are also simplified as only the SIM chips have to be shipped to device manufacturers. In addition, SIM cards no longer need to be physically replaced during the lifecycle of a device, thanks to remote personalization updates.

Environmentally friendly payment cards and SIM cards are not the only examples of how we are helping to conserve the planet’s natural resources. In banknote manufacturing, for example, G+D has launched a sustainability initiative entitled “Life of a Banknote,” which aims to identify potential for improvement in the areas of raw materials, production, logistics, and recycling of banknotes. Some of the energy used in our printing facilities comes from renewable sources and we have cut down significantly on plastic packaging by using cutting-edge banknote processing machines.

G+D’s climate protection activities are embedded in a comprehensive corporate responsibility strategy. Since 2010, we have been committed to upholding the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and, as a company, we seek to add ecological, economic, and social value in everything we do. For more information about corporate responsibility at G+D, please see our latest progress report.

Download Progress Report 2020

Progress Report 2020 [704.58 KB]

Published: 31/03/2021

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