The eco-conscious movement is unmistakably a global environmental concern that continues to gain momentum as we see the impacts to our daily lives. Consumers and world leaders recognize that carbon footprints must be reduced, requiring and challenging their business partners (vendors, customers, etc.) to make measurable changes now. Many organizations are taking calculated eco-actions in various product segments: everything from electronics, housewares, clothing, and batteries to heavy duty motors and industrial equipment. Careful lifecycle considerations are evaluated at every product stage, from design and concept to end-of-life.

Credit cards are no different. Consumers demand eco-friendly materials, card recycling programs, and even more importantly, the assurance that their bank or credit union is actively engaged in these programs. Increasingly, many products now demonstrate their own unique eco-journey to include these lifecycle eco-considerations along the way – packaging, production efficiency, waste, green-certified buildings, etc. The mere ability to recycle something isn’t enough and even though the term “eco” is many times in absentia of standards or regulations, it’s becoming one of the highest priorities in consumer goods.

What exactly is the scope of eco-cards and why is it important? Traditional credit card materials are typically some variant of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), widely known as the biggest contributor to global plastics proliferation. Although the credit card form factor is small, global annual card production is estimated to be 3.3 billion cards in 2023, drawing scrutiny around the total lifecycle, use case, and further debate around physical vs. digital card issuance. Purists believe the ultimate form of an environmentally conscious card is a digital one. Realistically, the continuation of hybrid credential issuance (the issuance of both digital and physical credentials to cardholders) will remain steady in the near future as consumers demand both alternatives for different use cases.

More and more companies are driving sustainability efforts into their initiatives, with an increasing trend in qualifying eco-materials. The breadth of these green programs is far and wide, varying from a fractional percentage in material reduction to biodegradable, recycled PVC, PLA, PETG, reclaimed ocean plastic, and everything in between. ABI forecasts an 18% decrease in the use of PVC in global card production by 2026, but the full impact of material changes can only be realized if cards are fully recycled at the end of their life vs. ending up in a landfill. Educated consumers recognize companies who promote their sustainability programs, looking to bridge environmental awareness with overall product viability. In the absence of eco standards and regulation, companies are looking to partner with material suppliers, equipment providers, and logistic services who have demonstrable programs in place that can help meet overall sustainability goals. To this end, it’s imperative that vendors, customers, and everyone engaged in product-centric decision-making is aware of eco-friendly initiatives and sustainability programs as well as broader ESG program goals and the related benefits and value proposition.

In a capitalistic world, consumers, world leaders, and companies alike are at the same crossroads, demanding more from eco and sustainability efforts to make the environment we live in safer and cleaner. For their part, organizations are looking for trusted advisors to lead them through materials research, equipment capabilities, or aligning with industry trends ahead of standardization. This critical juncture is where Entrust has invested resources to bridge the gap between technical feasibility and demand for sustainable practice. We’ve dedicated resources − from our R&D, business teams, material suppliers, and equipment suppliers to logistics services − to co-create meaningful solutions to meet these critical goals now and into the future. We are leveraging an eco research and innovation platform that was designed to build the knowledge base for holistic solutions vs. driving product-led materials or features. In simpler terms, eco R&D is the foundation required to build diverse enterprise relationships supporting the broader initiative. The mere existence of an eco-project doesn’t automatically generate “trusted advisors,” but the collective effort will create a roadmap where partners feel comfortable collaborating on technical concepts to support consumer demand.

To learn more about how Entrust collaborates with clients to build solutions that will help them reach their sustainability goals in card issuance, visit You can also learn about Entrust’s unified card issuance solutions here.