Payments Provider Blackhawk Network, Visa to Launch Environmental Sustainability Initiative

As part of its ongoing initiatives aimed to positively impact the environment at a global level, branded payments provider Blackhawk Network (BHN) says that it is working alongside Visa (NYSE: V) in order to transition its network branded prepaid products “distributed by third party retail networks from plastic to paper-based materials.”

The initiative will roll out in the US, Canada and Australia later this year. Converting to sustainable materials has “the potential to impact over 350 million open loop and multi-branded products produced by BHN and up to another 700M third party cards as BHN works to get nearly all content converted to sustainable materials.”

This shift to more eco-friendly products benefits the planet with minimal disruption to merchants, issuers, brands, and consumers, “as paper-based products still offer the convenience and reliability of shopping where Visa is accepted.”

BHN has offered “an array of eco-friendly, paper-based and recycled products since 2017, and with the support of global networks like Visa, BHN will expand its efforts on an accelerated and broader scale.”

This announcement delivers on BHN’s 2022 pledge “to convert the majority of its own products to paper substrates by the end of this year, and to encourage and support its card partners in converting their own plastic products to paper substrates by the end of 2024.”

BHN is the “first” in its industry to “gain broad approval from global networks and commit to such a significant environmental program.”

Talbott Roche, CEO and president of BHN, said:

“Our mission is to lead the prepaid and gift card industry’s shift from plastic to more sustainable and responsibly sourced materials—and we’re delivering. Collaborating with influential brands like Visa is helping us create a more sustainable payment card market. Thanks to our vast network, we are in a unique position to pioneer change by reducing our global footprint and creating a roadmap for others to follow—while doing the right thing for our partners, customers and the Earth. As a go-to partner for the largest brands in the world, we understand the importance of thoughtfully managing our role in the industry’s supply chain, and it’s our responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of the products we produce and distribute across the world. We hope more industry stakeholders join us in our ongoing efforts.”

BHN’s initiative to transition “to paper-based open-loop prepaid cards would not be possible without an enthusiastic partner that also proactively explores opportunities to protect and preserve the planet.”

Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer at Visa, said:

“Visa is committed to operating as a sustainable, responsible business. In addition to our own ongoing initiatives, joining BHN in its sustainability efforts is a way we can join forces for a greater collective good. We recognize that together with our partners we can achieve our goal of being an engine of sustainable commerce—including through sustainable payment cards.”

In addition to transitioning to paper-based and sustainable card products, BHN is also continuing “to innovate with its digital card offerings to further lessen the demand for plastic-based cards—positively impacting the planet while also acting as powerful symbols of change that meet consumers’ increasing preference for digital payments, rewards and more.”

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