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With the rising trend of conscious consumerism, sustainable choices are garnering more attention than ever before. Prioritising a sustainable lifestyle, an increasing number of individuals have become cognizant of their actions, emphasising environmental conservation. From something as basic as an apparel choice to something as crucial as a financial decision, sustainability has emerged as a critical factor influencing decisions. According to a Bain & Company report, sustainability is increasingly gaining traction in India, as 49% of consumers prioritise their health and 20% prioritise social and environmental issues.

In the light of mounting environmental concerns, governments, investors, and corporations throughout the world are beginning to take action and the banking industry is no exception. The financial sector has experienced a significant transformation with the incorporation of environmental considerations, giving rise to the concept of green banking. Encouraging environmentally friendly operations while minimising carbon footprints is the new addition to the banking sector, what we call as ‘green banking’. It seeks to encourage eco-friendly behaviour through the use of green financing, which includes, green bonds, green loans, and green credit cards, amongst others. Now, banking consumers have the ability to monitor their daily CO2 footprint, enabling them to make informed decisions that positively impact the environment.

As India strives to attain net zero by 2070, the banking industry will play a critical role in guiding the financial services ecosystem towards green financial alternatives.

Green financing: Key types

 Green loans: Green loans are standard loans that are intended specifically to finance initiatives that are eco-friendly. In order to encourage companies and people to participate in environmentally friendly projects, these loans come with advantageous terms, such as extended repayment terms or reduced interest rates.

 Eco-friendly bonds: Eco-friendly bonds are debt securities that are specially issued to raise money for environmentally beneficial initiatives. The earnings from these bonds are utilised to fund projects like renewable energy development, energy efficiency improvements, and sustainable infrastructure.

 Green credit cards: Designed to reduce the environmental impact of standard credit cards, green credit cards are made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic, plastic recovered from ocean, biodegradable materials or digital tools for tracking and offsetting carbon footprints.

 Green credit cards: A revolutionary addition to the banking sector

The banking industry is undergoing a radical change towards green practices as part of the global quest for sustainability. Among these developments, the introduction of green credit cards is a noteworthy addition, representing a real commitment on the part of financial institutions to support eco-friendly decisions.

Currently, most credit cards are crafted from PVC plastic, a synthetic polymer derived from salt and, more significantly, crude oil—a fossil fuel burned for energy. Furthermore, PVC is not biodegradable, which means that it never fully decomposes and contributes to environmental pollution. In contrast to conventional credit cards, green credit cards have a smaller environmental impact because they are made of materials like recycled plastic or renewable alternatives. These cards encourage ethical consumption and help reduce plastic waste by using eco-friendly materials.

Green credit cards constitute a crucial component of a larger movement towards responsible finance. Made of natural fibers, these cards serve as a symbol of change to remind us all to better take care of our environments.

It is certainly true that credit card adoption is on the rise. And statistics from the Reserve Bank of India validates this, showing that the number of credit cards in India increased from 7.5 crore (75 million) in April 2022 to over 8.6 crore (86 million) in April 2023. This represents a 15% increase. By early 2024, this figure could surpass the 10-crore (100 million) mark. As the adoption of credit cards tends to grow, green credit cards emerge as a viable option, encouraging responsible consumption while lowering the amount of plastic consumption.

 Green banking: Paving the way to a sustainable financial future & fulfilling ESG objectives

Fostering sustainable financial ecosystems requires a commitment to green banking activities. These efforts not only encourage individuals to make environmentally conscientious decisions, but they also contribute to a larger effort to combat climate change. One critical green financing alternative, green credit cards, goes beyond financial transactions and represents a conscious effort to incorporate sustainability into everyday choices.

As we navigate environmental challenges, integrating green finance into our daily lives will serve as a responsible and necessary step towards a sustainable financial future. As a pioneer in sustainable payment solutions, G+D empowers financial institutions to embrace green banking with innovative technologies.


Mr Naresh Rao, VP & Sales Head Issuance Products, Giesecke & Devrient India Pvt Ltd.


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