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It’s Not Easy—Green Banking Continues to Grow

“It’s not easy being green.” 

When this tune started floating around my head for this post, I thought Kermit the Frog had first sung these words about twenty years ago. Imagine my surprise when I checked Wikipedia and found out the song is over forty years old. And what was once a frog’s simple lament about growing comfortable in his own somewhat hunter green skin, has over the years been co-opted by the green movement as a reminder of the difficulties of living green with Kermit’s blessing of course.  

So for the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on the environmental Kermit, my earliest exposure to and hero of the green movement. Kermit the Frog and the Ad Council anti-pollution ad that featured the Crying Native American guy made a big impression on me and I’m not the only one. For many people of my generation, these impressions spurred us to action both then and now.

I’ve been an avid recycler for more than a decade but I remember organizing a neighborhood clean-up when I was still watching the Frog on a daily basis. Somehow I think some of the banking decision makers who are helping to implement green initiatives have these same cultural references working in their subconscious too. This fact might help to explain why, despite the economic upheaval, so many financial institutions and banks are moving forward with their green initiatives.

Citi announced the opening of a 305,000-square-foot facility to house its computer systems and components in Georgetown, Texas. This facility will employ about 50 people and is only the first step that Citi is taking toward more environmentally friendly data centers. Other organizations are taking similar steps to help eliminate paper waste and reduce their carbon footprint. While it would be great to think that the focus on eco-friendly is only driven by altruism, the truth is that it makes good business sense as well.

Let’s take a look at my own employer, which recently formed an alliance with Verizon Business targeting transactions among vendors, partners and customers, and the companies said that by automating annual business-to-business transactions worldwide, estimated at about 40 billion transactions, companies would cut 2.3 billion pounds of CO2, or the equivalent of removing about 200,000 cars of the road for a year. According to the Aberdeen Group, a company that processes 500,000 invoices per year can cut manual process costs by 60 percent or more if automation is implemented. For financial institutions that support wholesale clients, this green trend toward cost savings and streamlined operations can translate into additional capital to fund new growth. Good business return and good press are compelling reasons for any company to go green. More and more banks are “Finding New Opportunity in Green Banking.”

And I’d like to think that the little green frog is playing a part in these decisions.

What about you? Did Kermit influence you to take some green action? If not Kermit, then who and what type of action are you taking?

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