A general lack of planning means UK banks are failing to use technology effectively to improve environmental sustainability, according to a study conducted by Datamonitor and commissioned by BT Global Services.
The survey of of 50 senior executives in UK financial institutions with more than 500 employees found that the vast majority of financial institutions - 94% - believe that sustainable practices are important to their reputation and 90% believe that IT has a role to play in improving their record.
But only half (51%) have a proper plan in place to utilise technology to help their organisation operate in a more sustainable way.
However, around the same amount - 47.6% - are prepared to make some investment in an effort to improve their standing over the coming year, says BT.
Andy Nicholson, MD, UK Finance Industry Sector, BT Global Services, says UK financial institutions have the right intentions but aren't putting together the business plans they need to ensure that they are operating in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way.
"To progress faster, financial institutions need to plan to invest time and money to change they way that they work," says Nicholson. "For those that genuinely treat this issue seriously, there are significant benefits to be had in terms of reputation, marketability and ultimately cost savings."
Nearly a third of banks (31%) say the biggest challenge they face regarding sustainability is keeping up with growing customer demand for products and services that demonstrate sustainability.
This is followed in importance by reducing energy usage (29%), ensuring that suppliers operate in a sustainable manner (eight per cent) and limiting any negative social impact (six per cent).
Most banks (84%) believe that they have a responsibility to consider the sustainability record of their suppliers. When doing so, 43% expect suppliers to meet a minimum standard.
A third of the banks (33%) questioned say sustainability will be the main driver for all UK companies to increase their levels of IT investment over the next five years.