The key messages of World Environment Day are to fix the damage done by climate change and to transform consumption and production in a global movement to #beatplasticpollution.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which organizes World Environment Day, “more than 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas annually”.
In 1973, UNEP made 5 June “World Environment Day” for the sake of the planet and all things that call it home. In the past 50 years, this United Nations celebration has grown considerably. This year, governments, businesses and civil society are coming together for World Environmental Day to find solutions to plastic pollution. Plastics, which are made from fossil fuels, contribute to climate change, as well as being harmful to ecosystems, biodiversity and human health.
As a global bank with local reach and some 161 million customers, Santander has the responsibility and opportunity to help people and businesses transition towards a greener economy and build a sustainable future.
Some of our initiatives promote responsible use and recycling of plastic. Across our core markets, our branches and corporate office buildings have been free of single-use plastics since 2021, in line with our public commitments on responsible banking.
Like the UN says, every action against plastic pollution strengthens the global movement. We’re running initiatives against plastic pollution in our markets. Our products are more environmentally sustainable.
Since 2021, our bank cards have been made with recycled plastic in Spain, Poland, Portugal, and the UK. Also, in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, we offer ECO cards.
We estimate that the more than 21 million sustainable cards issued under these initiatives will eliminate 189 tonnes of single-use plastic and 1,477 tonnes of CO2 and bring us closer to our goal of having all cards made with sustainable materials.
Street furniture made with recycled plastic cards
Our employees are essential in our quest for solutions to plastic pollution. In corporate volunteering initiatives, they help clean up beaches and other natural habitats. Because making seashores and oceans plastic-free and preserving plants and animals is everyone’s responsibility.
World Environment Day shouldn’t be limited to a specific date, but observed every day. We can take action to care for the environment, with solutions to produce and use less plastic.
The benefits of small gestures, like recycling, efficient household consumption, or the collaborative economy, are big for everyone. The UN expects the first legally-binding global treaty on plastic pollution by 2024. But until then, we will continue the fight to #beatplasticpollution on Earth.