Case study

NatWest and the Home Office pioneer sustainable rPVC cards

Home Office early adopter of sustainable cards

When NatWest’s Public Sector Cards team approached the Home Office to introduce the concept of sustainable recycled plastic (rPVC) cards, the Home Office welcomed the suggestion to be one of the very first adopters in the UK.

The Home Office aims to be more sustainable, which is reflected in ambitious targets for emission, waste and water use reduction – the new rPVC cards, ready to be issued for the first time in the third quarter of 2022, can help achieve these targets.

rPVC cards deliver a 7gramm reduction in CO2 manufacturing emissions per card, which represents a 36% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to a standard PVC card. Each card cuts down plastic waste by 3.18 gramm as compared to traditionally produced cards.

A new generation of commercial credit cards

In 2021, NatWest took the decision to switch to a new supplier, IDEMIA, for its commercial credit and charge cards. Amongst other benefits, the new partnership allows NatWest to migrate the production of its commercial credit and charge cards to rPVC cards. The rPVC material used for these cards is recycled from industrial waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill. 

In addition to moving to rPVC plastic, NatWest also agreed with its supplier to convert to flat printing of the card details onto its cards, substituting the current silver of the embossed elements, which had shown to rub off too easily, resulting in customers requesting a new card – and as such contributing to unnecessary waste. The flat printing of the new cards will be considerably more resistant to natural wear and tear.

To support customers who are partially sighted or blind, NatWest is also introducing “bite and braille” onto all its commercial credit and charge cards.

While the first cards of this new generation of environmentally friendly cards are out now, NatWest is planning to move its commercial customers to rPVC cards when these cards need replacing to avoid generating a wholesale waste of cards that are still usable.

A great move for the public sector

Vince Voon, Commercial Transformation & Enablers, Commercial Directorate at the Home Office, said: “We are excited to be the first public sector institutions in the UK to switch to rPVC commercial credit cards. We thank the NatWest team for being so proactive and creative and leaving no stone unturned to help cut waste and emissions. Their commitment to sustainability mirrors ours, and we hope we inspire other institutions to follow suit.”

Tony Clegg, Public Sector Cards Director at NatWest, commented: “We’re thrilled to be able to help the Home Office improve their carbon footprint by switching to rPVC cards, which aligns with their ambitious sustainability targets. We’re also proud to support the UK public sector on its sustainability journey with innovative solutions, and we thank the Home Office for being our pioneers for this new, environmentally friendly card.”


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