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This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, employment, or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.
Businesses and their employees are putting their money where their values are — making more sustainable purchases in their personal lives and at work as well. Business owners are putting sustainability at the forefront; they’re thinking about their business as a whole, its products, packaging, and even offsetting the business’s carbon footprint. And employees, particularly in the Gen Z and millennial age range, want to protect the environment too. According to Deloitte’s Global 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, climate change is a major concern for respondents. Sixty-nine percent of Gen Zers and 73% of millennials are making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. Although they want to prioritize sustainability, they struggle to afford it and look to their employers for greater climate action.
If you’re looking to make more sustainable decisions for business operations, consider looking at your business credit and debit cards.
Card manufacturers are offering greener options
Whether you’re a business owner using business debit and credit cards, offering physical prepaid gift cards, or looking to cut down use of paper in your marketing, there are ways that everyday business operations — like which credit or debit card you use — can also be opportunities to cut down on your environmental footprint. These cards can be made of recycled or biodegradable plastic instead of a traditional polyvinyl chloride or PVC.
According to credit card manufacturer Perfect Plastic Printing, there can be associated costs with using more sustainable materials, estimating they are about 30% more expensive than traditional card manufacturing. In a call with Square they shared that these components are opportunities that come with some benefits and costs:
- Recycled paper: Using recycled paper for carriers and envelopes represents the largest percentage of post-consumer recycled materials they support. However, this can’t be done with 100% native fibers as it can cause jamming or bleeding on the equipment.
- Cards: Physical cards made of sustainable materials are, on average, 30% more expensive to produce than traditional credit or debit cards. There are also longer lead times of about six months.
- Eco-friendly facility expansion: There are also ways to make the facilities involved in the production more sustainable. Part of Perfect Plastic Printing’s net-zero carbon footprint initiative includes reducing energy usage per square foot by relying on solar power, recycling, use of electric vehicles, and carbon offsets for natural gas and more.
Depending on the manufacturer, these costs could be passed on, in part, to you as the business owner in exchange for the benefits to the environment.
Going beyond the cards
Planning ahead for potentially longer lead times or higher fees is one way to ease your way into adopting green alternatives for business debit and credit cards. Here are a few other ways you can make your business operations more sustainable:
- Carbon offset programs: Some businesses leverage carbon offset programs to make up for the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses their business are contributing to.
- Paperless statements: If you use business credit and debit cards for your business, adopting paperless billing is one way of reducing paper waste and the carbon footprint and costs associated with printing, shipping, and disposing of those statements. If you are a Square Banking seller you can check your banking statement from your Dashboard. Digital banking as a whole can help reduce more traditionally paper-heavy elements of bank use.
- Partner with eco-friendly organizations: Some card manufacturers collaborate with environmental organizations or donate a portion of profits in order to provide rewards that support sustainable initiatives.
Not every manufacturer will provide sustainable card options or partner with environmental organizations, so if sustainability is important for you and your business, doing some research ahead of time can help you make informed decisions when it comes to your business finances.
The Square approach to sustainability
Square helps sellers more easily run and grow their businesses with an integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services. No matter their size, industry, or complexity, sellers around the world work smarter by enlisting the Square ecosystem of products to automate their operations and create new revenue streams. Square takes a deep interest in climate action and sustainability and is working to reduce its own carbon footprint as well as help fund carbon removal around the world.