Aside from a slew of cardless and contactless initiatives, banks are also launching services that nudge customers to embrace eco awareness.

Banks throughout Asia are taking steps to turn their portfolios green and innovate to limit their environmental impact.

In Taiwan last year, DBS Bank issued Asia’s first ‘bio-sourced’ credit card—the DBS Eco Card—to promote customer awareness and use of environmentally-friendly banking solutions. The launch of this card, together with its other sustainable practices, has resulted in the bank being awarded the “2020 Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Award” from the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy.

In Singapore this year, UOB also launched the ‘bio-sourced’ credit card for its sustainability-oriented Generation Z customers. The card is manufactured with the use of Polylactic Acid (PLA) and bio-sourced corn-based materials that are safe for incineration. This process cuts down the use of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) by 82% and reduces its carbon footprint by 10g per card.

UOB also plans to replace the rest of its plastic debit and credit cards with environmentally-friendly options in the future. Its environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach also extends to a suite of financial solutions and services that encourage customers to adopt a greener lifestyle, such as the use of electric vehicles and eco-friendly homes and sustainable investment solutions.

In Malaysia, Standard Chartered Bank launched its CarbonNeutral credit card last year and will extend this globally from November 2021. Assuming the average bank card has a carbon footprint of about 150 CO2eq (carbon dioxide equivalent) or approximately five plastic bags, an annual issuance of three million cards translates to 15 million plastic bags’ eco footprint. Standard Chartered uses this yardstick to offset its carbon footprint through a variety of carbon mitigation programs worldwide. This includes saving the Acre Amazonian Rainforest in Brazil, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity reserve in Indonesia, and reinforcing commitment to its customers in the area of climate change.

Building back better and greener

According to Michael Au, Senior Vice President, Thales Banking and Payment Solutions, Asia, which has been part of the abovementioned banks’ eco-sustainability efforts: “As the global financial sector looks for ways to bounce back post-pandemic, there is greater emphasis on building back better and greener. Contactless technology for transactions; and mobility and authentication are part of our daily lives.”

The firm claims to offer the widest portfolio of products and solutions to help the financial industry deliver on their environmental commitments through various environmentally-friendly cards and contactless banking solutions.