Also including card printer Giesecke+Devrient, it’s called the Greener Payments Partnership, and is aimed at reducing the use of PVC plastic in payment cards. According to a statement from the companies announcing the partnership, they are committing to accelerating research into recyclable, bio-sourced, and bio-degradable materials “with the goal of delivering globally available solutions to reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing in a matter of years.”
According to Mastercard, the roughly six billion payment cards manufactured each year are though to comprise less than 0.015 percent of all plastic made per annum. For anyone familiar with the dire climate change warnings of the most recent IPCC report on the issue, this new partnership can only be seen as a very small-scale contribution to the broader environmental effort.
But it does serve to illuminate a corporate alliance between Mastercard, IDEMIA, and Gemalto, all of which have been highly active in efforts to develop new biometric payment cards capable of scanning consumers’ fingerprints during use. Notably, they have not been active together: Gemalto was a key player in a major biometric payment cards trial conducted by Mastercard rival Visa earlier this year, while IDEMIA has been affiliated with Mastercard through a partnership with fingerprint sensor maker IDEX. But the Greener Payments Partnership suggests that there could be more going on between these companies behind the scenes than meets the eye as the financial services industry prepares for the mass rollout of biometric payment cards.