UAE Banks Commit to 80% Sustainable Mastercard Cards by 2025, Ahead of Global Target

Mastercard’s UAE Sustainable Cards Pledge sees over 10 banks switch to eco-friendly materials, making UAE a pioneer.

Thanks to commitments from the UAE’s banks, 80% of Mastercard cards in the market issued from 2025 will be sustainable. This is the outcome of Mastercard’s UAE Sustainable Cards Pledge, an initiative that mobilizes the country’s banks to switch to cards made from sustainable materials by 2025.

This makes the UAE the first country in the world to do so three years ahead of the Mastercard’s global target of 2028. The pledge has witnessed a strong uptake, with more than ten banks and financial institutions having signed up to date.

In line with the objectives of the country’s Year of Sustainability – and on the sidelines of COP28 global climate conference – the initiative aims to make it easier for consumers and businesses to reduce the environmental impact of their wallets. Building on the strong sustainability momentum in the UAE’s banking industry, reflected in the 32% growth of green finance in 2022, the pledge highlights Mastercard’s role as a force multiplier for positive change.

Our goal is simple – we want to help banks offer more eco-friendly cards to consumers, and we are taking concrete actions to bring about that change. This way, everyone benefits – it’s better for the environment, it’s better for business, and it meets evolving consumer needs. We have chosen the UAE as the launchpad for our initiative because of the nation’s unwavering commitment to protecting the climate and environment, as evidenced by the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative. COP28 provides us with an ideal platform to share this significant step in our sustainability drive with the world.

Gina Petersen-Skyrme, Vice President and Country Business Development Lead, UAE & Oman, Mastercard

Mastercard is committed to building a more sustainable world. The company is on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 through a host of sustained efforts. Earlier this year, the technology giant announced that from January 1, 2028, all its newly produced plastic payment cards will be made from more sustainable materials, including recycled or bio-sourced plastics, such as rPVC, rPET and PLA.

Globally, Mastercard introduced a certification scheme that distinguishes sustainably made cards with an easily identifiable sustainable card badge. To date, 519 issuers across 97 countries have signed up to transition 388 million cards across the company’s network to recycled and bio-based materials. Mastercard has also launched a program that enables people to recycle their cards. These measures help reduce plastic waste and align with the principles of the circular economy.

Current levels of carbon emissions, natural resource use and pollution are exceeding limits that are environmentally sustainable or safe. As many as 6 billion payment cards are produced every year, typically from PVC, whose recovery is a complex process, as the elements need to be separated. These cards are replaced on average every 3-4 years, with discarded cards creating tons of harmful landfill waste around the world. Mastercard’s sustainable cards program seeks to address this global environmental concern by reducing first-use plastics in payment cards.

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