american express, eco-friendly, sustainability

American Express has partnered with Parley, an organization centered on fighting marine pollution, for an eco-friendly initiative that will aim to not only reduce its use of plastic, but raise awareness among its cardholders. Under the collaboration, American Express will reveal a credit card constructed mainly of recovered plastic found in the ocean and along the coast. In addition, American Express is using this as a beginning for initiatives that focus on lowering its plastic usage within the organization and within its airport lounges, among other efforts.

“Our oceans play a vital role in our lives, the health of our planet and the health of travel and tourism, which American Express has long supported. It’s important that we raise awareness and do our part to keep our oceans blue,” said Douglas Buckminster, group president of global consumer services at American Express. “Partnering with Parley is the right next step as we pursue our larger vision of backing our communities and sustaining the planet we share.”

The card is being prototyped, an American Express spokesman said, and will be publicly available within 12 months. Hoping to create awareness surrounding waste within the ocean and surrounding coasts, American Express will use the card launch as an impetus to unveil additional eco-friendly commitments.

“American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans.

Following Parley for the Ocean’s “AIR” — avoid, intercept, redesign — philosophy, American Express will deploy a smattering of methods to decrease its “virgin” plastic usage. According to the spokesman, American Express will devise a strategy to decrease new plastics in its card, “phase out” nonreusable plastic straws and coffee stirrers in all of its major offices and Centurion airport lounges globally in the next 30 days, and remove any single-use plastic in airport lounges by the end of the year.

The company isn’t taking a fully reactive stance, either. The spokesman explained that American Express will “set a comprehensive waste-reduction strategy to reduce single-use plastic and increase recycling rates in its operations globally by the end of the year.” What’s more, it will strive to achieve a zero-waste certification from New York City by 2025 and continue its ongoing, company-wide coastal clean-up activities.

This isn’t the first sustainable move by the company. American Express has actively decreased its carbon emissions by 50 percent since 2011 and powers its U.S. data centers and Manhattan headquarters with renewable energy — nearly 50 percent of the company’s global real estate is green.

The move follows announcements by Ikea this week, which said it would ban single-use plastics by 2020. And India said it would eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022. A similar announcement was made by the European Union two weeks ago. Tuesday marked “World Environment Day,” and this year’s theme was to “beat plastic pollution.”

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