These days, the term “green banking” refers to much more than just cash and profits. As more and more banks and other financial services companies turn their corporate focus toward sustainable business practices, including energy management, a “green bank” can also refer to a financial institution that considers the environment on par with profits. Governments and investors are significant influences for this shift in focus, but leaders in the sector also recognize that corporate sustainability is good for business, and their customers are rewarding them for these balanced initiatives.
But how then does a financial firm evolve a strategy to include sustainability objectives within its business planning and encourage the overall shift in corporate culture? It begins by first acknowledging that sustainability and energy efficiency are an excellent opportunity for renewed prosperity and growth.
Sustainability equals opportunity
The promise of energy efficiency to help improve profitability is a big reason that financial CEOs are embracing sustainability. In fact, 93% of CEOs see sustainability as an essential part of their business success, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project survey in the S&P 500 Climate Change Report 2013. This same report indicates that 65% of financial services executives believe that their energy saving and sustainability objectives provide a strategic business advantage.
Too many benefits to ignore
In an age where financial incentives for energy efficiency programs are on the rise, the finance industry can ill-afford to ignore the impact energy management can have on business success. The obvious and immediate returns include: earning government rebates for efficiency retrofits; saving with demand response programs; avoiding penalties arising from emerging regulations; and the simple cost savings related to energy and carbon cost reductions.
But cost savings are not the only elements of a solid return on investment. In a recent survey by the International Finance Corporation, 59% of respondents indicated they’d experienced revenue increases by adopting sustainability as a business strategy. In other words, a financial company that ignores the opportunities that an energy efficiency and sustainability program can provide is losing out on potential new sources of both cost savings and revenue.
Laying the groundwork
The foundation of a successful program hinges upon energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and continuous corporate improvement. Three must-have steps in your energy management program include:
- Step 1: Define the strategy – An actionable strategy that works best is one that builds in ample investment of time and resources and obtains high-level executive buy-in and commitment.
- Step 2: Deliver efficiency – Make sure to create a strategy focused on delivering measurable efficiency improvements, which helps to prioritize and fund potential energy efficiency projects.
- Step 3: Sustain the results – A broader corporate focus on continuous improvement is key to ensuring that programs and projects support the mission and achieve sustainable results, while opening up opportunities for new ideas to provide additional energy and carbon reductions.
To learn how to build a successful energy management program at your financial firm, download our white paper, “Impact of Sustainability and Energy Management Programs on Finance Industry Performance.” You may also find this video helpful: Schneider Electric Finance Solutions Value Proposition. Lastly, check out our Banking and Finance Solutions web site for details.