Competition between banks is now so fierce that customers are looking for a unique selling point to differentiate one from another.
If you are thinking of switching bank accounts, or opening a brand new account, you probably have certain key requirements when choosing a current account.
Assuming that features such as debit card and overdraft facilities are similar between banks, the point of difference could be the bank’s eco-friendly policies.
Green banks – not just a gimmick
Many banks now have environmental policies in place, but some use this as a marketing tool just to attract new customers. It can be difficult to know if their ‘green’ policies are part of the bank’s overall strategic plan, or just a marketing ploy, but environmentally-friendly systems could include:
– Offering paperless statements – you access your statement online instead
– Using recycled paper for day-to-day correspondence
– Sourcing renewable energy to power branches
– Implementing energy-saving measures within general banking activities
– Using technology, such as conference calls, to reduce the number of miles travelled by bank executives
HSBC were one of the first banks to take steps to become carbon neutral. In 2005 the bank implemented its plan to buy green electricity, plant trees, reduce energy-use, and purchase carbon credits, in an attempt to lower the impact of their carbon emissions on the environment.
By purchasing carbon credits, green banks can ensure that for every tonne of carbon dioxide they produce, the equivalent amount can be saved elsewhere. This is achieved by paying another company to reduce their own carbon emissions by the same amount in the same year.
Banks need to set an example to the business world in general, by promoting a ‘green’ way of working. Eco-friendly processes within branches, using sustainable materials and renewable energy, is now commonplace, but they need to monitor carbon emissions regularly to know if they remain carbon neutral.