Although the roots of the environmental movement can be traced as far back as 1739, much of modern history did not reflect a conscientious concern for our natural resources and the sustainable management of such until late. Just think about how our progress has led to the demise of the environment; the Industrial Revolution, pollution, cars and smog, pesticides…the list could go on and on. In the 20th century, environmental concerns grew in popularity and recognition, and throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and beyond, public awareness and the encouragement to “go green” has experienced exponential growth.
As more people and businesses are recognizing the importance of preserving our environment and adopting green practices, it is safe to say the movement is not a fad, but has taken root and is here to stay. As late as 20 to 25 years ago, making ecologically friendly choices was more of a choice attributed to the “tree-hugger” types rather than a necessity and an assumed way to live. Since then, we have come to realize that if we truly intend to “save the planet,” we must consider the impact we have made leading to its destruction. Not only are individuals stepping up to the plate to make changes, so are businesses across the globe.
Historically, the only green that banks cared about was the government-issued currency kind, but that too is changing. Even banks have adopted several practices to aid in the green movement. By doing so and encouraging customers to take advantage of said practices, banks are dramatically reducing their carbon footprints. “The private financial sector, more than any other, has the ability to begin the ecological U-turn modern society so desperately needs,” said Ilyse Hogue, director of the global finance campaign at Rainforest Action Network in a 2005 Time magazine article. The U-turn she referenced is currently being made.
In the last decade, people across the board have cut down on waste and promoted earth-friendly products and services. In the financial sector, one emerging trend is a move to promote green banking practices. According to a survey from Javelin Strategy and Research and the Arbor Day Foundation, “If every American household went paperless, it could reduce solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year, help curb the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons a year and save an estimated 18.5 million trees each year.” In 50 years, one tree recycles more than $37,000 worth of water, provides $31,000 worth of erosion control, $62,000 worth of air pollution control, and produces $37,000 worth of oxygen. A study by the PayItGreen Alliance estimates that one household’s annual paper statements from banks would strip 24 square feet of forest each year. Consider the cost.
Financial institutions keenly recognize their role in a paperless society and are working to implement efficient, convenient, less wasteful strategies every day. Online banking, electronic bill pay and e-statements are just the beginning. Having access to banking information online saves trips to branches—and gas. Beyond that, companies are now using remote capture to process checks at their place of business. Remote capture is the wave of the future in banking, and it too is green—a major bonus.
Even more so, in the post-recession economy, the efforts people and companies are making to adopt green practices are priceless. Saving money and innovatively using what you have has become mainstream philosophy. It isn’t necessary to spend extra money to buy fancy, organic “green” products; it is about making simple day-to-day decisions, like choosing e-statements over paper statements, that are making the greatest impact on our society. Families are constantly seeking ways to take the greatest advantage of our natural resources and taking necessary measures to renew those resources to promote sustainability. Going green isn’t just for tree huggers any more.
What is your bank doing to save the planet—and your money? Implementing green strategies has given bank customers an opportunity to make a difference in the environment while completing necessary business. When banks adopt cost-efficient, automated practices, they contribute to the ongoing awareness and conscious support of environmentally friendly practices and produce greater profit. Going green is vital to sustaining the planet, and when implemented effectively, can put green right where you want it…back in your pocket. It’s the perfect time to join the evolution. iBi