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Brief Published: 20 Sep 2019

Green Money: AmEx Joins Fight Against Plastic Waste


Banking giant American Express (Amex) has announced the launch of a credit card made primarily from reclaimed plastic collected from coastal regions. This initiative comes as part of a global campaign, in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, to combat marine pollution.

Rolling out later this year, Amex’s eco-improved Green Card will be made from plastic gathered from beaches, islands and coastal communities by Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit organisation raising awareness about ocean-habitat destruction. 

In addition to the new card, Amex and Parley for the Oceans have launched social media campaign #BackOurOceans to encourage consumers and competitors alike to adopt their eco-conscious ethos. For every use of the hashtag, the organisations promise to remove two pounds of plastic from beaches, until one million pounds of waste has been cleared.

The bank will also roll out its first card-recycling programme to US customers in 2020. The initiative aims to ensure damaged and expired products don’t contribute to the whopping 91% of plastic that currently doesn’t get recycled around the globe (National Geographic, 2018).

Today's customers want services that contribute to social good, a key theme explored in Fast-Forward Finance. Three-quarters of US millennials (aged 25 to 38) think their investments could influence climate change (Morgan Stanley, 2017). Financial providers that satisfy this change-the-world impulse will win favour with consumers wanting to be kind while they spend, invest and save.

We’ve predominantly seen young fintech start-ups responding to growing demand for services that give back to communities and the planet – such as Aspiration and Newday, featured in Bespoke Banking. However, Amex’s new card demonstrates how traditional banks can enter this sphere and appeal to eco-conscious customers.

The reconstitution of waste into new consumer materials is an innovative way to tackle the earth’s current pollution problem. To discover new fabrications and the brands putting them to good use, see The Wealth in Waste, part of our Towards Our Sustainable Future Macro Trend.