Sustainability refers to the ability of something to remain at a certain level over a specific period of time. When it comes to cash we can narrow down the range of forces having a direct impact on its current and future sustainability: 1) The cost of cash in circulation and 2) the ecological footprint of cash in circulation. These two factors are already having a clear and present impact on banknote access, acceptance, user choice and the role of intermediaries such as commercial banks in maintaining cash infrastructures to ensure cash sustainability.

We are fortunate in the cash community to be faced with such a conundrum: how to reduce the cost and ecological impact of cash to support its future sustainability. In some industries reducing ecological impact inevitably results in an increase in costs. In the cash community, a correlation exists between the cost and ecological impact of cash, making it possible to significantly and simultaneously reduce both.

Today, most of us know why we must support evolution in how cash is managed in society and we even know where the sources of friction are and what we must do to remove them…but we do not necessarily know how to do it in a win-win manner.

The cash cycle of the future will be built upon data. Emerging technologies will enable cash cycle innovators and actors to bring about significant positive change by delegating much of the centralised cash management activity right down to the retail layer, keeping cash where it is needed most – moving between the public and retailer. While technology is making this possible, we cannot achieve the scope nor scale of change required without cross-cash-community engagement, exchange and collaboration. We are still working in silos and this is our single biggest challenge when it comes to cash sustainability.

My presentation will demonstrate the potential to use data to create a more sustainable future for cash and all actors involved in the cash cycle, by simply working together.