American Express x Parley: Back Our Oceans


American Express expands its commitments to the Parley AIR Strategy with a global campaign to Back Our Oceans, a redesigned Card made primarily from reclaimed plastic, and a call to action to remove up to 1 million lbs of marine plastic pollution through @americanexpress and on Instagram.


Marine plastic pollution is a complex, fast-growing and global threat. It impacts every known ecosystem, and every human on Earth. And it’s caused by everyday decisions. To end it, we need to raise awareness, harness creativity and collaboration, and implement solutions at a rate that can outpace the destruction. Our alliance with American Express delivers this message to, and through, the company’s employees, Card Members and business partners.

Since partnering with Parley in June 2018, American Express has taken steps to reduce the use of single-use plastics, support beach cleanups and educate employees to be part of the solution.

The collaboration now announces expanded commitments to the Parley AIR Strategy with a global campaign to #BackOurOceans and the introduction of a new symbol for change:

the launch of the first-ever Card made primarily with reclaimed plastic intercepted by Parley from beaches, shorelines and coastal communities.

"Plastic is a design failure. It stands for the toxic age we created, threatening the future of our oceans and our own species," says Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch. "By making their legendary Green Card with Ocean Plastic®, American Express introduces another Symbol of Change — and with it, a powerful commitment and an invitation for everyone to support our movement."

American Express continues to evolve its operations to embody the Parley AIR Strategy through a commitment to limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste, educate and empower its network, and redesign existing products.


“Each year nearly eight million metric tons of plastic enters the oceans, threatening the ecosystems and wildlife that inhabit them. As part of our brand promise to back our customers, colleagues, communities, and what they care about most, we’re committed to raising awareness for the issue of marine plastic pollution and doing our part to care for the oceans and coastal communities that we all share.” 

– Doug Buckminster, Group President of Global Consumer Services, American Express



  • Redesigned Consumer & Corporate Green Cards Primarily Made Primarily with Reclaimed Plastic from Parley

    Later this year, American Express will introduce redesigned Consumer and Corporate Green Cards which will each be made primarily with reclaimed plastic collected from beaches and coastal communities by Parley.

  • First American Express Card Recycling Program

    American Express is introducing the company’s first Card recycling program. Rolling out in 2020 for U.S. Consumer, Small Business, and Corporate Cards, the program will enable Card Members to send back their expired or non-working Cards to American Express who will ensure that they are properly recycled.

  • Avoiding Single-Use Plastics

    The company has also pledged to eliminate single-use plastics across its operations globally and has already removed single-use plastic straws and coffee stirrers from its global headquarters, managed-office facilities and operating centers. In addition, American Express has replaced single-use plastics in all U.S. cafeterias with reusable or compostable packaging and utensils, as well as removed all single-use plastic in their Centurion® Lounges.  This builds on the work American Express has done to evolve the sustainability of its broader operations. In 2018, American Express became a CarbonNeutral® company, powered by 100% renewable energy.

  • Global Call to Action to #BackOurOceans

    To raise awareness for the issue of marine plastic pollution, American Express and Parley kicked off a global call to action rallying Card Members, merchants, partners, colleagues and beyond behind the cause. From September 16-23, 2019, thousands of individuals commented on @AmericanExpress and Instagram pages explaining why they #BackOurOceans or tagging friends who they wanted to get involved. American Express and Parley are removing 2 lbs of plastic from beaches and coasts for every comment received during this time. Thank you to everyone who took action!


Learn more and get involved at


Parley AIR is the strategy to end marine plastic pollution and call for everyone — private households, businesses, governments, and change-makers across all industries — to participate. With a focus on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation, Parley AIR stands for three pillars of action: Avoid plastic wherever possible; Intercept existing plastic waste; and Redesign the materials, products and thinking at the root of the problem.

The Parley partnership is an ambitious step within American Express’ broader journey to become a more environmentally sustainable company. Together we will work to protect the oceans against plastic pollution through our strategy and define a new business culture. Everyone is invited to take part. 


“Steps like these sound the bells of a new era, a new economy, where harmful substances and exploitative business practices are relics of the past.”

– Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans



More Ways to take Action


Volunteer — In a Parley cleanup

Donate — To the Parley foundation || @parleyforoceans

#AmexParley #BackOurOceans