Virgin Money is upping the ante in the eco-friendly financial services stakes with the promise of a biodegradable credit card.
Barclaycard last week revealed it would be the first "leading" bank to launch a "green" credit card, named Breathe (MW last week).
Virgin Money says it is working with eco-designer Robert Holdway at Giraffe Innovation on a card made from biodegradable materials. The card is likely to be coloured green – a departure from Virgin’s usual red. No launch date has been given.
A Virgin Money spokesman admits there is "work to be done" to establish which materials and processing techniques are most suitable.
"It is important that this doesn’t just pay lip service to the environment but has a lasting positive effect as part of our overall drive and commitment to environmental practice," he said.
Barclaycard Breathe is not made from biodegradable materials but from PETG, an environmentally friendly alternative to PVC cards.
Breathe is one of several initiatives Barclays-owned Barclaycard is planning, through its involvement with "We’re in this together", a consortium launched this week by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Stuart Glendinning, managing director at price comparison site moneysupermarket.com, says this is part of a growing trend among financial service providers.
He says/ "It was only ever going to be a matter of time before personal finance providers latched on to green issues."
He says there is a "strong appetite" among consumers for "genuinely green" products and predicts other providers will follow suit.