Green Banking – Piraeus Bank: an example of material flow and marketing innovation
PIRAEUS bank offers since 2006 specially designed green banking products to support environment related entrepreneurship. The bank has developed green loans for renewable energy investments; green mortgages; green loans for households (purchase of bicycles, energy saving infrastructure and equipment); green leasing; as well as green insurance products. Moreover, the bank has designed and implemented an environmental management system comprising a series of measures to minimize its environmental footprint and to communicate the benefits of these actions to its customers. The project was co-financed by the European Commission through the LIFE programme.
Possible effects: economic, social, environmental
The bank has reduced its energy consumption and improved natural resource management, taking simple measures such as mainstreaming electronic transactions (offering to its customers, fully electronic - no need for paper - means of transactions). Widespread use of Green Banking has changed the relationship between the bank and the customer, achieving among others: direct benefits to the environment; improved quality of service; significant reduction in transaction costs; good marketing results with eco conscious clients.
The environmental benefits are summarised as follows: with 20,000,000 electronic transactions conducted annually, Piraeus Bank saves 90,000 kg of paper, a number interpreted in 2,000 trees; 3,500,000 litres of water and 450,000 KWh of energy saved by not consuming this amount of paper; additionally, by saving energy, the emission of 90,000 kg of CO2 in the atmosphere is avoided. Moreover, the bank makes continuous efforts to raise customers’ environmental awareness, through messages in web and ATM banking.
- Green Ethics: The motivation for promoting the Green banking derives from the excessive penetration of bank transactions in everyday life and activities. A key point in green banking is that the additional profit that derives from the green banking operation is contributory to the environment and the public and not benefiting the bank units themselves.
- Market demand: Green Growth, now a national, EU and global strategic vision, creates a huge market for Green Banking products; competition is due to promote eco-innovation.
- Risk: Green banking products are a new market, in which traditional banks have little experience.
- Knowledge: Environmental know-how is not fully available in-house, hence a new department as well as strategic alliances with external consultants were required.