Last updated: 29 September 2016
Heard about green banking? If not, then it might be time to consider how your financial institution or company could benefit from launching environmentally-friendly initiatives. Recently, we discussed two new schemes launched by the Bank of Aland, designed to encourage customers to “think green” and position the institution as a sustainability innovator. Senior executives at the bank have recognized the importance of tackling pollution in the Baltic Sea, which is sadly among the world’s most polluted waters.
What can a bank do to save the environment, you might be asking? First of all, they can encourage customers to consider the impact of their purchases. The Bank of Aland’s Baltic Sea Project is built around the Aland Index, which displays a customer’s carbon footprint through a unique calculator and appears on their monthly statement, serving as a constant reminder of the need to fight pollution. It’s an innovative and effective piece of technology, which the Bank of Aland has made available to other institutions keen to make a difference.
Moreover, with the help of Gemalto’s suite of green banking tools, the Bank has also issued a bio-sourced card, which is made from renewable resources rather than plastic. It forms part of a strategy to replace all their plastic payment cards with biodegradable materials. The result is a sustainable and eye-catching payment card, proving that green equals stylish.
In a digital age, banks need defining traits, enabling them to stand out from competitors. Green banking allows financial institutions to align their business model with a venerable cause, leading to a positive social impact and attracting new customers in the process, such as environmentally-conscious millennials. It can also make them candidates for industry awards, as demonstrated by the Bank of Aland’s success at the prestigious D&AD Impact prize ceremony, where the Aland Index has won four design categories.1 The project was also listed as one of the ’12 innovations that might save the world’ in a Swedish national newspaper and nominated for a ‘Creative Data’ award at the Cannes Lions. Needless to say, these reputational gains stand to win the Bank of Aland a lot of business in the future.
It must be emphasized that green banking initiatives should not be seen as a ‘quick fix’ for banks struggling to refresh their image in an increasingly competitive market. On the contrary, financial institutions need to invest in intelligent sustainability strategies, with long-term planning and objectives. Only then can banks mimic the Bank of Aland in influencing the behavior of consumers positively and driving an environmentally-conscious economy.
What do you make of the Bank of Aland’s green banking project? Can you see more institutions embracing environmental initiatives? Let us know by tweeting to us at @Gemalto or by commenting below. And, of course, please join us in congratulating the Bank of Aland on their success.
1Bank of Aland received an D&AD award in the following design categories:
- Financial Empowerment
- Responsible Production & Consumption
- Industry Evolution
- Communication & Interaction