One of Louisenthal’s visions is a sustainable banknote. For this purpose, the company examined the lifecycle of a banknote from cradle to grave. Increasing the proportion of organic and fair trade cotton used in its substrates was a first step. Taking a closer look at water consumption, conditions of production and energy resources a second one. A third step is the careful handling of hazardous materials. Berger explained that “water is a very emotional topic. Louisenthal is located within the drinking water catchment area for Munich. Building a paper mill in the middle of this area meant that, right from the start, part of our main focus has been environmental protection and sustainability in our processes. When it comes to ensuring clean water we follow perhaps the strictest rules in the world – and gladly so. Louisenthal has always gone beyond legal requirements when deemed environmentally sound for its two locations.”
Over the last decade and a half, Louisenthal spent EUR 15 million on sustainability. One example is the efficient, sustainable approach to heating and cooling works. This has yielded savings of around 1.5 gigawatt hours of electricity per annum since 2009, the equivalent of some 600 tons of CO2. Another is the reduction of water consumption by 40% over nine years, from 1,600 m3 a day to 900 m3, with the help of a wastewater treatment plant. Bacteria are used to purify the processed water. Once they have fulfilled their purpose, the bacteria are separated and recycled using a membrane filtration system. The purified water is reused in production. 25 percent of Louisenthal’s electricity in Gmund is being generated locally through combined heating and power generation and CO2-neutrally through three water turbines. They are equipped with a sensor-controlled, fully automatic water inlet that only takes the amount of water it actually requires, most of which goes back into the river. In a last step, Louisenthal addresses the issues of disposal and recycling, aiming for “no waste”.
“We have always been environmentally responsible”, says Berger. “And now we are doubling our efforts year on year with the whole team completely behind our goal of a green banknote. This award will spur us on.”
Sustainability in the production of banknotes
The ecological footprint of banknotes depends on many factors. With our “Life of a Banknote” principle, we show how we meet requirements in terms of security, durability, functionality, and design while respecting sustainability.
How sustainable can a banknote be? We took a hard look at our entire value chain: What is going well? Where could we do even better?
Life of a Banknote
Louisenthal is running the Life of a Banknote program to promote tangible action for green banknotes, including the use of green energy, fair-trade cotton, reusable packaging and recycling. Did you know we produce 25% of our own electricity and have reduced water consumption by 40% in 9 years?