The global concern for the current and future state of our planet continues to grow, with millions of people wondering how they can make a positive impact. We are challenged daily by non-profits, communities and businesses to make eco-friendly choices, but lifestyle changes aren’t the only way to help. Environmental awareness is a huge opportunity for innovation, which is why green banks are becoming increasingly popular.
Green banks use innovative business models and financing techniques to encourage private investment into clean and sustainable technology. While these socially-responsible institutions vary in size, approach and impact, they generally share the following characteristics:
Aim to facilitate investment in LCR infrastructure and technology
Innovative transaction structures and market expertise
Independent authority and reach to design and implement strategies
A focus on cost-effectiveness and performance
Beyond these operational characteristics, a few common goals of green and socially-responsible banks include:
Meeting ambitious emissions targets
Mobilizing private capital
Lowering the cost of capital
Reducing energy costs
Developing green technology markets
Supporting local community development
How can you be more environmentally aware when going about your banking?
It is important that people adapt to the innovative solutions that banks offer and help companies to reduce the impact on the environment. Below are some basics tips on how you can be more environmentally aware when banking.
Use internet banking as much as you can
For most of your current and future life, visiting the bank consistently is something of the past. Unless you are opening a new account, which some banks now also offer through an online application, just about every single thing you would need to use your bank account can be done online. This includes basic transactions, investing, trading and business services.
Use a mobile banking app
As with internet banking, a banking app is a powerful platform to almost everything you would have usually done at a physical branch. Banking apps are an extension of what internet banking offers. Compare the top 5 mobile banking apps here.
Switch to electronic statements
If you are in the habit of meticulously working through your bank statements every 1 to 3 months, consider receiving them electronically. Paper might feel more natural now, but over time you will start appreciating the accessibility and time-saving power behind eStatements!
Ask whether your local branch is environmentally friendly
Many banks now promote using recycled materials within their branches. This includes marketing materials like brochures and posters.
Why do banks need to offer environmentally friendly banking options?
Banks play a vital role in how we interact with money and it results in banks storing vast amounts of data all around the world. This data can include:
Customer profiles that include all contracts and relevant paperwork.
Reports of important events and transactions.
Reports on important events and decisions that need to be made in the financial sector.
All of these data sets are in paper form and place immense weight on the planet’s ecosystems.
The global demand for resources from the environment is not something that can be ignored. And this doesn’t even touch on the vast impact of producing paper money all around the world. Fortunately, banks are aware of the issue and have made innovative steps in helping customers practice environmentally friendly banking habits.
Beyond lifestyle changes like recycling more, driving less and being more conscious toward the environment, the products and services you use can also make a positive impact. On a larger scale, green banks aim to facilitate investment in clean technology, so choosing to bank with them could encourage others to pursue socially-responsible behavior. And if you’re interested in what else banks are doing to be good stewards, compare accounts with other ethical causes.
Frequently asked questions
It depends. Generally, green banks will charge similar fees to traditional banks, but it doesn’t hurt to compare your options and find out.
Green banks use metrics like emissions saved, jobs created, rate of return, effectiveness of investments and more.
Green banks support a wide range of industries including infrastructure, clean energy, community organizations and more.
Definitely. However, they aren’t as popular as green banks, so you’ll have to look in your area to find out if there’s one near you.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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