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How sustainable is payment by cash?

How sustainable is payment by cash?

The environmental footprint of a person’s yearly use of euro banknotes is equivalent to driving 8 km by car, or 0.01% of an individual's total carbon consumption, according to a study by European financial authorities.

The study measures the potential environmental impact of all activities in a full cycle of euro banknotes - from raw material acquisition, manufacturing, distribution and circulation, to disposal by euro area national central banks (NCBs).

The main factors contributing to the environmental footprint of euro banknotes as a means of payment are the energy consumption of automated teller machines (ATMs) and transportation, followed by processing by NCBs, paper manufacturing and the authentication of banknotes in shops.

European Central Bank board member Piero Cipollone, comments: “The Eurosystem is committed to making euro banknotes as environmentally friendly as possible, while ensuring cash is widely available and accepted.”

Since 2004 the Eurosystem has made efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of euro banknotes, for example by using only 100% sustainable cotton and banning the disposal of banknote waste in landfill.

In addition, ATM manufacturers and banks have made progress in reducing the environmental impact of their machines. The study shows that improvements in the energy efficiency of ATMs contributed to a 35% decrease in their environmental footprint between 2004 and 2019.

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 11 December, 2023, 16:082 likes 2 likes

it will be much cheaper than blockchain or crypto currency thats for sure.... when cash is 'at rest' its consuming nothing -  Crypto is always being held on live processors - as is its audit trail -    this is a very silly headline, sorry Finextra - normally you are on the ball - this one, not so much! 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 11 December, 2023, 22:102 likes 2 likes

This is absurd - meaningless, unverifiable and unactionable. The world has lost its way when institutions of state commission and publish such banal work as if though it is useful analysis. What next - how about the equivalent distance travelled by car (electric, diesel or gas?) for a person's carbon consumption in generating the total taxes they pay in the EU?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 12 December, 2023, 12:22Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Its an ESG headline - A tale told by an Ixxxt, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,  W Shakespeare esq