Green Banking In an increasingly eco-conscious market, many small businesses are finding creative ways to go green. Whether it’s improving their energy efficiency, buying organic products, composting or just turning off electronics at night, being green means all sorts of things to different people. One small thing you may not have considered is green banking. Most banks have at least one green initiative in place (or claim to), and a few have made the extra effort to distinguish themselves as green businesses. But what does “green banking” mean exactly?
Depending on whom you ask, it’s a marketing term, a social philosophy, an investment strategy, and everything in between. However, if you’re an entrepreneur, you probably want to know if it makes sense on a business level. The answer is yes! You’ll save money, you’ll help the planet, and if you’re already running a green business, it’s a great next step. That said, if you’re serious about getting a greener banking experience, you’re going to have to look at facts, not fluff. What is your bank really doing to be more environmentally friendly? Have they cut back on their paper and energy use?
Do they invest in sustainable or green businesses? Do they give back to the local community in any way, or give money to charity? You don’t need to do that much digging to get some good answers. Here are a few easy things to look for. Paperless and online ba nking These days, almost all banks offer paperless options and online account access. You’re in good company if you already opt to get your bank statements delivered to you electronically at home, and it’s a real easy step to greening your business account. Besides being environmentally friendly, it’s also incredibly convenient.
You’ll have easy to access your account information anywhere you’ve got a safe and secure Internet connection. All accounts you have with the bank, even your business credit card if you have one, will be on their database. Your statements are filed and sorted automatically. You can pay bills, order checks, and keep tabs on all account activity with a click of your mouse. You’ll save a few trees, give the ozone layer a break by not driving to the bank, and you won’t have to worry about bank paperwork getting eaten by the giant paper pile on your desk.
Electronic statements are almost always marketed as a green or eco-friendly, but they’re so darn popular because they make good business sense for banks too. Don Shafer, chairman of the small bank consulting company BancVue, estimates that banks spend between $1. 50 and $3. 50 per customer printing and mailing monthly statements. If you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time, it’s a win-win for any business. Green business perks and initiatives As you probably know, going green goes beyond your bank account.
It’s about encouraging environmentally friendly behavior everywhere. Does your bank offer any special perks or initiatives that make them greener, or make it easy for you to be greener? New Resource Bank in San Francisco is unique in that they only offer accounts to green businesses. However, they take this a step farther by giving their customers opportunities to network with each other and exchange ideas, financial and otherwise. GreenChoice Bank has their headquarters at the Green Exchange in Chicago.
Formerly a factory, this LEED Certified building has a green roof, a high-efficiency heating and cooling system, low toxin (VOC) paint, and even a rainwater capturing system for irrigation. Green Bank in Houston will make a $50 donation to the environmental or social organization of your choice when you open a business checking or money market account with them (choose from over 100 of their member agencies). Even some big banks, like Wells Fargo, offer green options for their rewards credit cards. Look for programs like this when researching your bank’s business model.
Environmentally responsible investing options Creating a savings account for your business gives you a smart safety net, and you might even be able to make extra money off interest. Why not get a savings account at a bank that invests in green businesses like yours? Talk to a bank representative, or do a little Internet research and find out where your money goes! Chances are, your bank invests in a large variety of businesses, but the more green ones, the better. Although this is not always true, smaller banks are more likely to invest in green businesses, or invest locally.
Many smaller banks make socially responsible, environmentally conscious investing choices. For example, New Resource Bank only makes “mission-related” loans, meaning any companies they loan to must meet the criteria outlined in their responsibility and environmental sustainability assessment. GreenChoice Bank is less selective, but they do make a special effort to reach out to non-profit organizations with special non-profit accounts and lending services http://www. termpaperwarehouse. com/essay-on/Green-Banking/55101