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Responsible banking Updated: 27 Feb 2020

BBVA launches Spain’s first card made of recycled plastic

BBVA is the first financial institution in Spain to distribute cards made of recycled plastic. This launch is part of the bank’s commitment to the fight against climate, and adopt initiatives that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The new cards, which are currently in the early stages of production, will begin circulating in the month of May. They will initially be available for those holding BBVA accounts for young people (Cuenta Joven BBVA).


BBVA is taking another step forward in its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals with the launch of a card made of 86 percent polyvinyl chloride (PVC) produced from recycled plastic -- the highest percentage in the industry globally. The materials that are used come from different industries such as packaging, printing, windows or the automotive industry. The bank has made a commitment to reach the 100 percent mark for recycled materials by the end of 2020.

BBVA will progressively expand this initiative to all countries where it has a presence, with the commitment that the cards it offers customers will be made of “eco-friendly” materials by the end of 2021.

This launch means that over half a million BBVA cards made of recycled materials will be put into circulation by the end of the year. The new model will include a legend on the back indicating that is made of recycled plastic, and will initially be distributed among new young customers, renewals and duplicates of cards associated with BBVA’s account for young people, the Cuenta Joven.

“Young people are especially aware of the importance of protecting the environment and their demand for sustainable solutions is growing. This was the conclusion from a BBVA internal study, which indicates that 93 percent of people under the age of 30 feel that all their cards should be sustainable. We have taken the initiative and are accompanying our customers in the environmental transition journey,” says Ana Pitarch, the Head of Individual Customers for BBVA in Spain.

Cards that reduce CO2 emissions

BBVA has chosen recycled PVC for its new cards following an in-depth study on the total impact of different materials -- from those made of virgin raw materials (PET and PVC) to cards made of recycled raw materials and those of natural origin (PET and recycled PVC and PLA. In order to calculate the carbon footprint of each card, not just the material, but the transportation, components, production and personalization were all taken into account.

Following a year of work, recycled PVC was the selected material. This choice makes it possible to take advantage of plastics that have already been used, thus avoiding an unnecessary proliferation of plastic and resulting in a material with a lower impact on the environment overall.

Using resources to reduce, reuse and recycle

BBVA is aware that the financial sector is a great actor to promote the implementation of the circular economy. It is a way to fight against global warming, reduce dependence on raw materials by using reused products and produce the lowest possible amount of waste. When something must be disposed because it cannot be reused, the end goal is for it is recycled in an environmentally friendly way.

A universal commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals

Pledge 2025 is part of BBVA’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universal call to adopt measures to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

In this framework, BBVA works to strike a balance between sustainable energy and investments in fossil fuels based on three lines of action: finance, management and engagement. Furthermore, with this particular measure, BBVA focuses its efforts on mitigating the social and environmental risks from its business and therefore minimizing both direct and indirect impacts that are potentially negative. This especially influences SDG 13 on climate action.

Through its Global Eco-efficiency Plan, BBVA strives to minimize its environmental footprint by fomenting the use of renewable energy, for example. Along these lines, the bank has set the goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 68 percent from 2015 levels by the end of 2025. In addition, by 2030, all of the energy BBVA consumes will come from renewable sources.