Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Online banking saves trees and carbon emissions - and money

Banks are being targetted by the new paper reduction campaign www.shrinkpaper.org with five UK banks being asked to commit to using less. There are already lots of signs that banks are cottoning onto the financial as well as environmental benefits of such a move.

More than 400,000 banking customers of HSBC in the UK have requested not to get paper statements, with a million bank accounts now paper free. This is such a good business move for the bank it is giving tree-planting charity Trees for Cities £200,000 to plant a tree for each 20 customers who make the switch to online statements. They are also growing a funky virtual forest, with a dedicated tree for every customer who has gone virtual. HSBC estimates that their similar scheme in Hong Kong saves 5 million sheets of paper every year.

Another reason for banks to be concerned about paper use is its climate impact. The Citizen's Bank of Canada has identified its paper use as a big contributor to its greenhouse gas emissions - up to 14% of its total carbon footprint is down to paper consumption. So it too is offering paper free banking to its customers and instituting company wide measures like double-sided printing, cutting its paper use by 30% over the past decade.

Cuts of a similar order seem to be readily achievable, with Bank of America reporting a 32% reduction in internal paper use between 2000 and 2005 as 3 million customers switched to paper free statements. The goal of further paper reductions is built into their paper procurement policy.

Someday we will look back on this time and wonder why anyone bothered with paper banking at all. Until then, projects like Shrink will need to keep pressuring banks to commit to reduce their paper consumption.


Wachovia Crown Banking said...

With the launch of iPhone banking has become more easy. Banks should look for more e-solutions to cut on paper consumption like electronic deposit of checks, e-statements etc.

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Of course he does, because you are not using paper or ink, makes a lot, it's like to save money, if stop using stuff that you don't need, you will save money.

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