In our new white paper on sustainable card payments Hans Sjölund looks at the drivers for action and what can be done by the card industry to reduce its environmental impact.
Whether it’s global warming, resource depletion or the rapid exclusion of populations and communities from resources, our planet is in crisis. In our new white paper, we outline the pressures on our sector from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and consumers themselves to take action. We also explain what can be done to make card payments more sustainable.
While much of the focus in payments has been on energy used by crypto, one estimate published on Medium by HackerNoon claims the card industry consumes four times more energy than cryptocurrencies once ATMs and POS terminals are taken into account. We believe there are several steps the card industry can take to reduce its environmental impact which have a measurable and positive effect without costing billions.
Taking action to protect the environment is vital given that card use continues to grow in Europe, with technological developments such as contactless cards, biometric security and increased processing power making cards fit for purpose in the 2020s and beyond. Data from the ECB shows card use more than doubled during a seven-year period over the last decade to reach around 48 billion transactions a year on 609.3 million cards by the end of 2020.
In Sustainable card payments: our responsibility, we explain the steps firms in the card sector should be taking, from sustainable card issuing using ocean recovered plastic, recycled PVC, recycled PETg and PLA through sustainable card management by reducing the use of paper in customer communications and minimizing the carbon footprint created by transport between production centres and customers.
In a similar vein, our white paper argues for the use of sustainable energy in transaction processing, which Tietoevry undertakes at our processing centres in Norway running on 100% renewable energy, and the development of “end of life” sustainability programs for plastic cards. For instance, Tietoevry’s ongoing partnership with SpareBank 1 in Norway allows customers to return their expired cards to Tietoevry as of 2022 so that precious metals used in chip and card production can be recycled and reused. Measures such as those outlined above have enabled us to reduce our environmental footprint by 56% since 2016.
Other areas covered in our white paper include the importance of customer communication and engagement to your sustainability work, and the benefits that accrue to those card firms who act decisively, including improved customer loyalty and employee engagement.
Click here to download your free copy of “Sustainable card payments: our responsibility” – our new white paper on sustainability in the card business.
 See hackernoon, The Bitcoin vs Visa card fallacy: https://medium.com/hackernoon/the-bitcoin-vs-visa-electricity-consumption-fallacy-8cf194987a50
 See European Central Bank, Card Payment Statistics: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/stats/paysec/html/ecb.pis2020~5d0ea9dfa5.en.html