Green is the new plastic: Switch to Transact Mobile Credential for a sustainable campus experience

October 24, 2023

Campus ID

Did you know October is Campus Sustainability Month? According to The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, “Campus Sustainability Month” (CSM) is an international celebration of sustainability in higher education. Throughout the month, colleges and universities organize events on campus and elsewhere to engage and inspire incoming students and other campus stakeholders to become sustainability change agents. The goal of CSM is to raise the visibility of campus sustainability and provide campus sustainability advocates with a platform through which to deepen campus engagement around sustainability.”

Transact Campus fully supports and empowers the campus sustainability movement, as is evidenced by our eco-friendly products and services such as Transact Mobile Credential. Our Mobile Credential solution provides campus-wide access to students using NFC-enabled Mobile Credential for Apple Wallet, Google Wallet, and Samsung Wallet; no physical student ID card is required. Here are some powerful statistics demonstrating the impact of replacing plastic ID cards with Mobile Credential:

  • To date, Mobile Credential provisions have replaced more than 53 miles of plastic student ID cards. That’s 5.2 tons of cards!
  • Implementation of Mobile Credential has helped to save 25,000 pounds of PVC production, based on one million Mobile Credential provisions
  • Due to the solution’s sustainable cloud infrastructure, it’s 93% more energy efficient.
  • Using mobile credential promotes a 98% more carbon efficient environment.

Transact partners aim to improve sustainability on campus

Transact is dedicated to staying ahead of the curve and making sustainable improvements all year long and is proud to partner with clients such as the University of New Brunswick (UNB). UNB has implemented several impactful initiatives that help set the standard for peers, such as:

  • Waste Management: Students, faculty, and staff members are strongly encouraged to recycle paper, bottles and cans, and electronics.
  • The Green Review is an annual blog which includes engaging photos, interviews with campus champions, infographics, and suggestions for more green initiatives.
  • The Green Society a student-led, environmentalist organization that organizes events to raise awareness about sustainability.

Other UNB programs focus on sustainable food systems, green grounds, and climate change action.

“I’m involved with the Green Society here at UNB. We focus on promoting sustainability to students. I think if we're able to cut out the use of plastic cards, it will align with our goals as a society on this campus and with UNB’s larger aim towards sustainability,” said Sarah Mahmoud, student.

Fellow student, Anika Oats, agrees: “Canada is trying to cut down on single use plastics like plastic bags, plastic cutlery, plastic straws, and things like that. Since the ID cards are plastic, cutting those out would be awesome. Sustainability means a lot to us, especially nowadays with global warming and everything like that, and really seeing how the environment is changing.”

University of New Brunswick: “Transact Mobile Credential technology supports our values of innovation, sustainability, and engagement.”

UNB took a huge step forward when they launched Transact Mobile Credential in 2021. As a result, students, faculty, and staff on UNB’s Fredericton campus can use mobile credential for Apple, Samsung and Google Wallets, as well as Apple Watch, and Samsung Galaxy Watch; in fact, UNB is the first Canadian institution to implement Transact’s mobile campus ID solution. 

Those with a UNB mobile “UCard” can use their smartphone to complete any action previously performed using a printed UCard. Students simply place their device near a reader to enter residences, computer labs and fitness centers, buy lunch, make purchases at campus stores, pay for laundry, or borrow a library book.

The mobile UCard allows transactions to be safe, and convenient. UNB can issue mobile UCards remotely without the need to see students in-person or print physical cards, creating a safer, more cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly process.

“UNB is a leader in deploying technology that is convenient and easy to use,” says Terry Nikkel, retired associate vice-president, Information Technology Services at UNB. “Our students really like the mobile UCard for its flexibility and usefulness, and we are pleased to offer this service on the most popular mobile wallet platforms. I use my mobile UCard all the time – like other faculty, staff, and students, I am never without my phone. UNB is very pleased to be the first university in Canada to deploy it.”

“It’s important for all our departments to work together to reach UNB’s sustainability goals. The UCard can play its part by reducing the use of plastic cards and the mobile credential is one way we could do that,” said Melissa Hannah, Director of IT Services.

Gen Z dubbed “The sustainability generation”

A survey by DoSomething revealed “Seventy-five percent of Gen Z respondents said they wanted to see that brands were ensuring employee and consumer safety. The survey found that, ‘If [brands] are not authentic, Gen Z will be the first to raise a red flag.’”

What’s more, Gen Z’ers are worried and stressed that climate change will negatively impact their future quality of life. Other climate change mental health conditions include climate grief, environmental melancholia, and pre-traumatic stress disorder. A recent study published in The Lancet Planetary Health Journal found that two in three say climate change makes them feel sad and afraid. And a staggering 45% report worries about climate interrupt their daily lives.

Transact’s solutions are helping to address these fears, offering environmentally friendly alternatives to traditionally wasteful and potentially harmful practices.

Clearly, preserving the environment is important to students, and research shows they expect their school of choice to offer digital IDs rather than the plastic versions. A study conducted by Transact and The Center for Generational Kinetics revealed “A majority (55%) think colleges that don’t offer digital IDs are ‘stuck in the past.’” To read more about Gen Z’ers technology habits, download the study.

Mobile Credential offers benefits beyond sustainability

If your school is still using plastic ID cards, consider switching to a digital solution such as Transact Mobile Credential, not just for the sake of sustainability. Mobile Credential improves the entire student on-campus experience, providing benefits such as:

  • Increases energy efficiency. Traditional plastic card ID systems require significant amounts of energy to produce, transport, and dispose of the cards. In comparison, mobile credential is entirely electronic and requires minimal energy to create and distribute. Additionally, NFC technology allows for more efficient and streamlined access control, which can further reduce energy consumption on campus. 

  • Maximizes resources. By transitioning to mobile credential, universities can also improve how they use their resources. Plastic ID card systems require significant resources to create and manage, including materials, equipment, and personnel. In contrast, mobile credential requires fewer resources, which can be reallocated towards more sustainable initiatives. For example, universities can use the savings from mobile credential systems to invest in energy-efficient lighting or renewable energy sources, which can further reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Enhances user experience. Mobile credential provides an enhanced user experience for students and staff, which also helps to promote sustainability. By using mobile credential, students and staff can access campus services more efficiently and conveniently, reducing the need for paper-based systems or physical plastic cards. Additionally, NFC technology allows for more precise tracking of access control, which can help universities identify and reduce instances of waste or inefficient resource use. 

  • Secure technology to prevent identify theft and fraud. Highly secure technology with NFC-enabled Mobile Credential for Apple, Samsung, and Google Wallets, as well as Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch.

  • Bonus! Easily integrates with add-on student offerings. Capabilities allow the addition of valuable services such as Talkiatry, a leading provider of in-network psychiatric care. Access to Talkiatry’s services will be incorporated into the Transact eAccounts app and available within the Transact Mobile Credential, providing students access to quality psychiatric services and an affordable mental health support system. Plus, you can add Talkiatry information and your school-branded landing page URL to the back of students’ mobile IDs.

Transact supports campus sustainability all year long

Although technically Campus Sustainability Month is only celebrated in October, Transact is in it for the long haul, committed to continuing to find ways to not make only campuses more sustainable, but our own organization as well.

“Transact is exploring partnerships with different organizations to reduce our carbon footprint and improve sustainability,” said Mechelle King, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility

Read about more Transact partners dedicated to creating a more sustainable campus experience, as well as other green Transact initiatives. If you’re ready to learn more about achieving a more mindful, sustainable campus, reach out to a Transact team member today and get the facts you need to make the best-informed decision.