American Express and Parley for the Oceans have partnered to create a credit card from upcycled plastic marine debris. The first ocean plastic card is a prototype currently undergoing testing and refinement. Public availability is anticipated in the next 12 months. The goal of this special issue card is to combat plastic pollution crisis in the oceans and to raise awareness of this important issue.
Doug Buckminster of American Express points out that “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”. He adds that, “it’s important that we raise awareness and do our part to keep our oceans blue. 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 company has also launched a plastic waste reduction policy at its global operations and is pursuing a zero waste certification for its NYC headquarters by 2025.
So what?We are seeing more moves to ban single use plastics, as well as announcements from Ikea, Royal Caribbean, Dell to reduce a ubiquitous plastic waste stream. Efforts to tackle the still growing tide of plastic pollution in the sea are also underway. Manual coastal cleanups and harbor based trash interceptors are removing plastic from our shores and waterways. Baltimore Harbor has a floating solar and current powered trash interceptor and seabins are being installed at marinas across the globe. It appears that for the near term in the US, the impetus to protect our vital marine resources will come from corporates rather than state mandates. Across the globe, pledges to save our seas were announced on 8 June: World Ocean Day. The UK plans to create over 40 new marine conservation zones. India announced plans to phase out single use plastics by 2022. Meanwhile in the United States, the Trump administration appears to have launched an attack on the ocean front. From rolling back regulations safeguarding offshore oil and gas exploration and expanding areas open to offshore drilling to reassessing the status of marine protected areas, the president’s policies are threatening instead of protecting our marine resources. Corporate sustainability initiatives will not only have a positive environmental impact but could also help to undermine the administration’s coastal attack.