Nacha - The Electronic Payments Association, announced today the formation of a "green coalition," comprised of leaders in the financial and consumer billing industries.
The coalition has been formed to educate consumers about the positive environmental impacts of choosing electronic bills, statements, and payments over paper.
The leadership partners include Bank of America, CheckFree, Citibank, Citizens Bank, EPN, the Federal Reserve Banks, Fiserv, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank.
"The financial industry has always encouraged consumers to receive payments and pay bills electronically because electronic payments are secure, can simplify management of household finances, and provides a layer of privacy that reduces risk of fraud and identity theft," said Craig Vaream, vice president, JPMorgan Chase and co-chair of the coalition. "Recent studies find that the consumer use of the online channel for banking and bill payment along with electronic invoicing can have a positive impact on the environment, saving trees, fuel and water."
A 2007 survey by Javelin Strategy and Research revealed that if all U.S. households received and paid their bills electronically, the country would:
- Save 16.5 million trees each year, or the amount of lumber needed for 216,054 typical single-family homes;
- Reduce toxic air pollutants by 3.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, akin to taking 355,015 cars off the road;
- Reduce by 1.6 billion pounds the solid waste generated in a year, equal to 56,000 fully loaded garbage trucks.
"Although consumer use of electronic bills, statements, and payments is growing, many consumers do not realize the full impact their household could make by simply asking to turn off paper bills and statements once they have adopted online banking," said Stuart Williams, manager payment services, CheckFree, and co-chair of the coalition. "This strategic industry initiative will educate consumers about the real positives for their households and for the environment that choosing electronic solutions over paper will have. We expect the campaign will result in higher consumer acceptance of electronic banking and bill payments, and a positive cumulative impact as an industry."
The coalition will develop tools and resources that educate and inform consumers about the environmental benefits of choosing electronic options over paper when managing household finances. This initiative is designed to complement the efforts of organizations currently educating their respective audiences about the environmental benefits of electronic bills, statements, and payments, and provide other organizations with information that will help them plan and implement their own campaigns.
"Consumers want to take individual action that can collectively lead to real impact on the environment," said Vaream. "Through this initiative we want consumers to recognize that choosing electronic bills, statements, and payments provides the additional benefit of eliminating the unnecessary waste of natural resources that are generated by paper-based services."
Recognizing the role that the financial services industry can play in contributing to a future that is less reliant on diminishing natural resources through commitments to broad "green" initiatives and opportunities the NACHA Board has also formed an Environmental Impact Steering Committee, chaired by Len Heckwolf, innovation & development executive, Bank of America and immediate past chairman of the NACHA Board of Directors.
"The Environmental Impact Steering Committee will work in the long-term strategic space that our industry - and any industry - needs to focus on if we are going to affect changes that have long-lasting impact on environmental issues and challenges." Heckwolf said. "I'm pleased at the caliber of organizations that have committed to the coalition work and look forward to the opportunity to craft long-term, broad brush strategies that the financial services community can use in unique and collective efforts that change the environmental impact of our industry and also help our business and consumer customers make sound choices."