Savings Banks Group, a bank that aims to enhance individuals’ and societies’ financial welfare, will become the first in Finland to offer its customers an option, from next spring, to have their debit or credit card made from ocean plastic.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year – and that number is steadily increasing.
Material for Savings Banks’ cards is collected from, for example, small island states that do not have the infrastructure ready for plastic sorting. Plastic waste collected from the ocean is sorted and eventually made into the plastic from which TietoEVRY, Savings Banks Group’s card partner, manufactures and personalises payment cards for Savings Banks’ customers.
"By using plastic collected from the oceans to make payment cards, we can contribute to reducing the amount of microplastics ending up in the bodies of humans and animals. At the same time, it will also lead to cleaner beaches," says Manu Kauppila, who is responsible for Savings Banks Group’s card business.
Helping in the fight against climate change
Although the transport of collected ocean plastics to Europe by sea freight results in CO2 emissions, the total emissions are lower than if the cards were made of traditional plastic, according to Savings Banks Group.
"We understand very well that we do not solve the world's environmental problems by using ocean plastic waste to make our payment cards. However, we believe that the world will become a better place if sustainability and environmental considerations are increasingly taken into account in similar concrete actions," says Kauppila.
Ocean plastics are made from PET, which is widely used in items such as plastic bottles. It is more environmentally friendly – but still as durable an option – as the traditional payment cards made from PVC plastic.
"Currently over 70% of a payment card body can be made of recycled ocean plastic. Ocean plastic cards not only minimise the introduction of virgin plastic but also reduce the amount of plastic in oceans. We are happy to work here with our card partner Thales," says Jarmo Rouhiainen, Head of Card Production & Personalisation in TietoEVRY.