Celebrating the petro-fiver
- Written by Olaf Martins
When you’re relatively new to a country, you don’t take anything for granted. You keep alert to new opportunities – and new risks.
So when my daughter came home from University the other day and dejectedly handed me what looked like a very poorly counterfeited £5 note, I shared her concern.
I needn’t have been. Somehow, in all of the excitement of relocating from Hamburg for my new job at IOGP in London, we had missed the publicity about the launch of the new high-tech fiver. A quick check of the Bank of England’s website clarified the situation. It also pointed out the advantages of the new note, made of polymer.
Professional pride replaced my initial panic. Because, like most polymers, the new £5 note is a form of plastic made from either oil or gas.
That’s better for the environment because, as the Bank points out, polymer notes last 2.5 times longer than their paper counterparts. They’re more resistant to folding, scrunching, tearing and even laundering (in the real sense). Longer-lived currency means fewer fivers need to be printed, which saves energy in both production and transport.
And when a polymer note finally does come to the end of its life, it’s ready for recycling. In Australia, they’re often converted into plant pots – which makes a nice change from money growing on trees.
The new currency is also safer. Polymer’s unique properties allow for greater flexibility in design, with transparent panels and more complex use of colours that challenge would-be counterfeiters.
Winston Churchill, the fiver’s new face, once said that ‘a nation that forgets its past has no future’. Well, the same can be said globally and for the industry I work in. The world’s prosperity has been based, in large part, on the energy and products produced from oil and gas. Today they meet half of energy demand. According to the International Energy Agency, the same will be true for decades to come.
I’ll bet my new plastic £5 that they’re right.
To find out more about the new fiver, visit: www.thenewfiver.co.uk
Olaf Martins is the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers’ (IOGP) global engagement manager. He has over 25 years’ experience in the industry. Before joining IOGP Olaf was with ExxonMobil, where he held a number of senior public affairs roles, including most recently his position as ExxonMobil Central Europe Holding’s manager of government relations and media. Olaf’s educational background is in economics.