HSBC Singapore has announced its intentions to phase out single-use PVC plastic; with the overhaul due to begin from the second half of 2021. Globally, this transition will substantially reduce CO2 emissions by 161 tonnes a year, while saving 73 tonnes of plastic waste per year.
The programme – which will include physical changes to HSBC’s debit, credit, and commercial cards – is part of the bank’s strategy to reduce its carbon emissions and achieve net-zero in its operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner.
HSBC has worked with global cards manufacturer, IDEMIA, to introduce new rPVC cards gradually across its locations, including Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, UAE, UK, and US, by end of 2021.
In Singapore, HSBC will introduce new rPVC credit and debit cards to its customers progressively from the second half of 2021. To preserve the life of customers’ existing cards for as long as possible, rPVC cards will be issued when their old cards naturally expire.
The move to rPVC underpins HSBC’s global ambition to build a thriving and resilient future and is part of the bank’s transition to a net-zero business. The switch is the first step in a gradual transition to issue cards made from sustainable materials, and HSBC is expected to continue to evaluate other alternative materials too.
The new rPVC cards are made from 85% recycled plastics. Based on the current volume of cards issued by HSBC per year (23m), the move to rPVC is projected to reduce CO2 emissions by 161 tonnes a year. This move will also reduce plastic waste by a total of 73 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent weight of over 40 cars.
“2020 was a year like no other,” comments Ranojoy Dutta, Head of Retail Products and Journeys, HSBC Bank Singapore. “The world changed in unprecedented ways and that has resulted in shifts not only in people’s behaviour, but also in their attitudes towards the environment and community.”
“Increasingly, societies around the world now expect banks to help nudge new behaviours among our customers and partners. The introduction of the rPVC cards is a continuation of our efforts to support our customers’ pivot towards a more sustainable future and making a positive impact on the environment.”
Global research conducted for HSBC by Mintel found a majority (77%) of consumers agree that financial services firms have an important role to play in creating a more sustainable society. When it comes to their appetite for payment cards made from sustainable materials, over two-thirds (67%) showed high levels of interest.
A separate global survey, conducted for IDEMIA by Dentsu Data Labs found that most people (92%) think their bank should actively contribute to preserving the planet; and a majority (87%) expect their banks to offer eco-friendly cards.
In Singapore, HSBC aims to help its customers not just build sustainable wealth, but also understand the impact of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues on the community and the role that they can play.
Some of HSBC’s recent initiatives include:
- Incorporated sustainability approach to corporate gifting and events for retail banking customers.
- The offering of sustainably-made red packets – which include a “plantable” greeting card – to retail banking customers.
- The curation of a series of lifestyle events that represent strong sustainable themes, the most recent being a Lunar New Year virtual event where the bank shared tips on how customers can repurpose existing decorative items to transform their home for the festivities.
- Expansion of a suite of sustainable investment products, most notably, partnering with the asset management company Schroders to exclusively launch the Schroder ISF Sustainable Multi-Asset Income fund.
- The introduction of more than 60 remote-enabled processes and customer servicing journeys, which include converting to e-Statements for both banking and credit cards; alongside the switch to eWelcome packs to reduce paper usage.