Monday, 18 July 2011

Financial services and going green

The financial services industry is not always the first sector you think about when thinking about sustainability. But, as a major employer across the globe, and a very influential sector, it can play an important role in promoting green issues and developing its own capabilities in this area.

So, how can financial services be green? Firstly, it can get the green basics right:

  1. Recycling paper and reducing the printing of emails.
  2. Banks could look at their reports and accounts, as these are often extremely long.
  3. Greening air miles by offsetting and using video conferencing when possible.
  4. Though they may not be the biggest consumers, financial firms can also reduce their water, energy and material usage.
    Financial services can also play a big role in the greening of our planet through their ability to raise awareness with the wider community. This important issue was discussed when I gave the keynote on 7th July to the UK's Financial Services Research Forum at the Association of British Insurers on 'the Big Society' to a packed room from firms across the sector. This is something green24 can help with, if banks and insurers include a green angle on as many offerings as possible, they are passing on the green message to a huge group of consumers.

    Not only can banks and insurers pass on green messaging to their customers, but they can incorporate this philosophy in everything, from lending decisions to investment products. Green funds and pensions have grown, especially among the youth.

    Given these opportunities, all financial firms have a responsibility to review what they are offering. Often, financial advisers neglect to ask about a customer's values as part of their 'know your customer' due diligence, and it can sometimes be surprising how positively clients react when offered green alternatives. Nowadays, choosing a green investment doesn't mean taking a lower return.

    The real return is the long term commitment of banks and other institutions, rather than short term fashion, as we have seen with some forays into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for mainly good PR reasons. It’s changing the levels of expectation and setting new benchmarks in sustainability, passing ideas and standards from business to business, that shift the horizon of what is acceptable and normal internationally.  

    Financial services can be a little conservative and risk averse, but here is an area where the sector can take the lead and even be adventurous! Commitment is not necessarily a risk or costly, and can bring long term benefits to all. Ask us how it’s done!

    David Jackman

    1 comment:

    1. the risk management is important steps in financial solutions and services for green investment also stock trading and online trading is also helping more - Commodity Trading Companies