Gateway Bank has launched Australia’s first sustainably produced payments card and will shortly launch new ‘green’ loans.
This comes as the banks come under fire for their slow response to global warming. Investors and customers have upped the pressure on lenders to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
Set to launch next month, Gateway’s new eco debit card will largely be made of polylactic acid which is created from fermented plant starches like cassava, corn, or sugarcane. That will replace the fossil fuel-based plastics generally used in the body of a debit card.
The bank said only the implanted security features and magnetic stripe are made from other materials - necessary to be compliant with the Visa scheme.
Gateway also aid the eco card will take 65 percent less energy to produce a plastic card and will generate 68 percent fewer greenhouse gases.
Finally, when the new debit card finally expires, it is designed to degrade quickly without releasing toxins into the atmosphere.
“It looks, feels, and is as durable as a traditional debit card, but it’s a lot gentler on the planet," says Lexi Airey, Gateway chief executive.
As she pointed out, the Reserve Bank of Australia has counted 41.1 million debit cards in use in Australia as of March this year - a number that doesn’t include the millions of credit cards and prepaid cards in circulation.
New green loans
In addition to the eco card, Gateway said it will launch several new ‘green’ lending products of its own.
These include two green home loans for borrowers with energy-efficient homes as well as a personal loan which can be used to help purchase environmentally friendly products like solar panels or battery storage units.
Gateway said its commitment to the environment is supported by its Climate Active certification as a carbon-neutral business and underpinned by ethical lending and ethical investment policies.