The cash industry may have seen its once dominant position eroded by digital transactions, but it remains both an important part of the economy and a sector with a sizeable, if often hidden, environmental footprint.
As such, a number of the leading players in the sector have today come together to sign up to a new Cash Industry Environment Charter, which would establish net zero emissions goals and plastic use targets for signatories.
Supporters of the Charter include the Bank of England as well as representatives from banknote and coin producers, commercial banks, machine suppliers, ATM operators, and other suppliers.
The group was triggered after NatWest convened an industry-wide summit last autumn, which led to a series of cross-industry working groups being established to explore how the sector could curb its environmental impacts.
The new coalition will now be led by UK Finance in a bid to encourage further collaboration and information sharing, as well as the establishment of base line data and a review of industry standards.
Initial signatories to the charter include NatWest, AIB, One Banks, Loomis, G4S, GLORY, and G+D Currency Technology GB, with a number of leading banks, the British Retail Consortium, and the Post Office also listed as supporters.
The signatories have said they will aim to aim to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2030, source 100 per cent renewable power by 2022, and eliminate single-use non-recyclable plastic in note centres by 2030, while delivering a 25 per cent reduction by 2023 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2025. In addition the group said that it would aim to reduce the use of single-use non-recyclable plastic with coins, by weight, to less than 45 per cent of current levels by 2030.
Sarah John, chief cashier at the Bank of England, said the central bank was pleased to support an “important initiative by the UK’s cash industry to manage its impact on the environment”.
“This Charter sets measurable objectives for use of renewable electricity and single use plastics and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 that will see the cash industry play its part in meeting the global challenge,” she said.
NatWest Group’s head of cash and self service operations, Richard Talbot, said the sector had a responsibility to take steps to curb its environmental impact.
“People, families and businesses up and down the country continue to rely on coins and notes for everyday transactions,” he said. “Cash requires an extensive infrastructure, with a significant carbon footprint. In a future where people are choosing to use less cash, we must reduce the climate impact of the entire cash cycle and work to remove costs so that it remains economically viable and so that those who need it can thrive.”