Santander Group accelerates implementation of environmentally friendly payment cards in European countries in support of the transition to financing the green economy

By 2025, all debit, credit and prepaid cards in the European countries where the Santander Group operates will be produced from sustainable materials, such as recycled PVC or those derived from maize. Santander Group will also reduce the number of cards on offer by more than 30% and standardise the card image in all countries. Santander Bank Polska customers will receive their first cards made of environmentally friendly material at the end of June/beginning of July.

Santander Group today announced the acceleration of the implementation of environmentally friendly cards in European countries, as part of its efforts to promote sustainable development and the transition to financing the green economy. By 2025, all debit, credit and pre-paid cards in Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK will be produced from sustainable materials such as recycled PVC or those created from corn.

The production process of such cards consumes less energy than the production process of traditional plastic cards. As a result of the Group’s implementation of green cards, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by more than 1,000 tonnes each year, which is equivalent to the energy consumed by approximately 1,000 households over a year. In addition, annual plastic consumption will fall by 60 tonnes.

Santander Group, which has issued more than 30 million debit, credit and prepaid cards in European countries, will also simplify its card offering by more than 30% by 2021 in order to improve customer experience and increase process efficiency.

As part of the simplification process, a new, uniform and modern image will be introduced for all debit, credit and pre-paid cards across Europe. The new cards, with a green logo, will feature a unique design for each customer segment, making it easier for customers to identify the card in their wallet. Card identification will also be easier for the visually impaired.

Reducing unnecessary plastic consumption is an important step in the Group’s transition to financing the green economy. By introducing environmentally friendly cards, we are reducing our carbon emissions and working towards carbon neutrality. It also exemplifies what we can do together as part of One Santander in Europe, leveraging our international presence and improving our customer service model.

António Simões

Regional Head for Europe at Santander Group

Our bank is one of the leading financial institutions in Poland involved in the green transformation. Our activities include financing renewable energy, e.g. solar and wind farms, promoting green financial instruments linked to ESG, but also the daily operations of the bank. In recent years we have reduced the use of plastic in our branches and head offices, we have switched to renewable energy, and we are changing the fleet of used cars to more ecological ones. All this has helped to reduce CO2 emissions. Another natural step is to take action regarding the products most used by our customers, such as payment cards. By producing cards from sustainable materials, we will soon be able as a Group to reduce emissions by another 1,000 tonnes per year.

Michał Gajewski

CEO Santander Bank Polska

Santander rolled out the first PLA-produced card wallet in Portugal in 2019 and in Spain in 2020. The changes being made are a response to evolving customer needs and simplification of the card offer done in an easy and sustainable way is expected to improve their experience of using banking services.

Last month, the Santander Group announced plans to achieve Group-wide carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan applies not only to all of the Group’s own operations, carbon neutral from 2020, but also to any emissions of the bank’s clients that result from lending, advisory or investment services provided by the Santander Group.

Estimates based on energy consumption in MWh/household in Spain (updated in 2020 with 2018 data).