SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazil is going to be the second country in the world to offer Greenpeace Visa credit cards using biodegradable Biopol resin supplied by Monsanto Europe SA of Brussels, Belgium. The announcement was made in SÃo Paulo on June 5 — Brazil's International Environmental Day — by Greenpeace's local officials and Banco Excel EconÃ´mico SA, the Brazilian bank responsible for issuing the cards.
The credit cards will be available to clients beginning in early August. American Bank Note Co. Grafica e Servicos Ltda., the Brazilian subsidiary of New York-based ABN Corp., will manufacture the cards using laminates extruded in Japan and furnished by Monsanto Co. of St. Louis.
Like the recently launched Greenpeace Visa in England, the new card will contribute to the environmental group.
``But that's not the point, because the financial gain is minimum,'' Greenpeace's local executive director, Roberto Kishinami, said during a telephone interview. ``PVC is our target. Some people like to say that we condemn this material without offering any alternative products. We're showing another possibility now,'' he said.
PVC is the material traditionally used in credit cards.
For São Paulo-based Excel EconÃ´mico bank, the new card is a marketing tool.
``Our goal is to become one of the top retail banks in Brazil. This association with the Greenpeace name is a good opportunity,'' said Bento Zanzini, executive director. ``Greenpeace has a niche of supporters not well-dimensioned yet in the country, but we believe we can reach 10,000 users in about six months.''
Kishinami said Greenpeace soon will introduce similar credit cards in other countries.
ABN's local unit will produce the Biopol cards at its Barueri unit, in SÃo Paulo's metropolitan region, or in Erechim, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.
``At this moment, we are waiting for the imported raw material to be unloaded at the port. Depending on the tests, the company may have to slightly adapt the machinery currently used or buy new equipment,'' said commercial manager Alexander Dannias.
ABN's local headquarters is in Rio de Janeiro, where the company operates a unit that produces several types of documents and phone cards. In Barueri, the company also prints checkbooks and other materials and molds plastic and personalized cards, while the Erechim unit is dedicated to the production of plastic cards in general.