Internal Environmental Care
Although banking is not considered to be a polluting industry, the scale of banking operations nonetheless gives rise to important environmental effects and banks are increasingly focusing on environmental care. While they impose demands on their customers’ processes and products, they are responsible for similar concerns of their own. When paying lip service to sustainability in their external statements and in the media, banks run the risk of being held to account for not confronting the environmental impact inherent in their own activities. If banks are lax in their own responsibilities, they lose credibility in the eyes of their customers. Credibility is gained by a transparency in their approach, and implementing an environmental care system, whether certified to international standards or not, certainly helps. Various banks have already put such a system into effect, making a distinction between the direct environmental impact of their own production process (also known as ‘operating ecology’ or internal environmental care) and the indirect environmental impact of banking activities (known as ‘product ecology’ or external environmental care). Chapter 8 concentrates on the organization of environmental care as well as on internal and external communication, while this chapter examines the internal environmental impact and care of banks. Internal environmental care involves the environmental impact of inputs (like electricity), internal processes (like mobility) and outputs (like the emission of CO2). Thus internal environmental care incorporates both organizational and technical measures (VfU, 1998, p18).