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 Charter sets out a series of commitments and targets that seek to establish a collaborative approach and a roadmap of initiatives to drive significant change in the industry. Three particular areas of focus have been identified - energy, plastics and carbon – with a number of ambitious targets already agreed:
Carbon – Aim to achieve Net Zero carbon for each organisation’s own operations by 2030
Plastic – Aim to eliminate single-use non-recyclable plastic in note centres by 2030 (25% reduction by 2023, 50% reduction by 2025). For coins, to reduce the use of single-use non-recyclable plastic, by weight, to less than 45% by 2030 (less than 70% by 2023, less than 60% by 2025.
Energy – Aim to use 100% Renewable Electricity for own operations by 2022
The Charter is a key outcome of an industry-wide summit that was convened by NatWest Group in September 2020 and led to a series of cross-industry working groups being established. Going forward, this work will be led by UK Finance to encourage further collaboration and information sharing, as well as the establishment of base line data and a review of industry standards.
As one of four organisations – and the only bank – operating within the Note Circulation Scheme on behalf of the Bank of England, NatWest Group is responsible for processing a significant proportion of the UK’s cash. In recent years, it has established a number of pilot schemes to mitigate the climate impact of cash, including the reduction of single use plastic, and is a Principle Partner of this year’s COP 26 summit in Glasgow.
Sarah John, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, commented: “The Bank supports this 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.”
NatWest Group’s Head of Cash & Self Service Operations, Richard Talbot, said: “People, families and businesses up and down the country continue to rely on coins and notes for everyday transactions. As a founding signatory to the Charter, NatWest Group is leading the collaboration across the industry to deliver a sustainable future for cash, both financially and environmentally.
“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.”
By putting a stop to using shrink-wrap cash for delivery to ATMs at the start of 2019, NatWest saved around 320 kilometres of shrink wrap in the first year – more than enough to cover the entire length of the M1 from London to Leeds.