UnionBank signs partnership with Plastic Bank® focused on delivering digital and financial literacy to plastic waste collector communities

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Plastic Bank Philippines to address plastic pollution by using digital technology, innovation, and community capability development under the sustainability program called Tech Up Pilipinas. 

Plastic Bank is a social enterprise headquartered in Canada building ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities, and reprocessing the materials for reintroduction into the global supply chain as Social Plastic®. Plastic Bank collectors receive bonuses for the materials they collect which helps them provide basic family necessities such as groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition, and health insurance. Together with its partners, Plastic Bank is stopping ocean plastic, improving lives and creating lasting environmental, social and economic impact.

As part of the agreement, UnionBank and Plastic Bank will be designing and providing digital and financial capability building activities for collectors as part of the larger community impact programs Plastic Bank offers its collectors. These programs will help increase Plastic Bank’s environmental, social, and economic impact through plastic collection drives, infrastructure improvements and skills development. 

Through UnionBank’s people tech and climate tech thrusts, the bank’s employees will also adopt Plastic Bank partner branches to boost plastic waste collection while developing the digital and financial wellness of Plastic Bank collectors. This will help them become more comfortable with using financial products and services such as bank accounts and automatic teller machines while learning how to save and augment their income. Plastic that is collected will earn digital tokens that can be converted to goods like food, health insurance, and educational funds for their children.

UnionBank will also provide learning opportunities for member collectors of Plastic Bank through its Xcellerator program, which offers various modules on digital literacy and through its mass market arm, which will provide financial wellness sessions.

“We really believe that our partnership helps us achieve our mission of stopping ocean-bound plastic, bring in new opportunities, and deliver positive impact to both our community. We are very happy within Plastic Bank that we have found an organization like UnionBank that shares our vision of a world where plastic is kept within the global economy and is prevented from entering the world’s natural ecosystems, a world where people live healthy and sustainable lives,” said Plastic Bank Philippines country manager Rene Guarin.

“This is one of the first sustainability initiatives in the banking sector that UnionBank is pioneering by demonstrating that a solution to our environmental problem can be approached outside of the traditional resources of the Bank, and with this groundbreaking partnership, UnionBank truly brings to life its sustainability purpose to co-create innovations for a better world” said UnionBank Head of Employee Relations, CSR, and Sustainability Dave Devilles.

UnionBank is one of the top ten Philippines banks in terms of assets. Through its Tech Up Pilipinas Program, the bank is fulfilling its sustainability mission to use digital technology and innovation for social good in three focus areas, namely: digital transformation, sustainable finance, and inclusive prosperity.

Plastic Bank is stopping ocean plastic while improving the lives of those who help collect it by revolutionizing recycling ecosystems, supplying Social Plastic, and ensuring transparency through blockchain technology.