Citi is contributing to the Billion Tree Campaign to encourage its institutional clients to enroll in paperless statements.
For every tree saved through a client's enrollment, Citi Transaction Services (CTS) will invest in 10 seedlings to be planted by a collaborative partner of the Plant-for-the-Planet Billion Tree Campaign.
Citi's efforts begin by offering clients efficient and secure electronic alternatives to paper-based statements, leveraging a myriad of solutions to meet clients' needs. These include retrieving statements from CitiDirect® Online Banking or receiving statements via e-mail or SWIFT. Clients receive statements faster, eliminate the burden of physical storage, and streamline the reconciliation process.
"Eliminating paper and increasing automation not only leads to greater operational efficiency and control; it also enhances environmental sustainability and delivers cost savings," says Naveed Sultan, Global Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions at Citi. "This is a perfect example of the triple bottom line at work."
Citi is committed to driving paper out of the financial supply chain where appropriate by encouraging its institutional clients to 'Go Paper-free.' Since the beginning of 2011, CTS clients have already eliminated more than seven million pages of paper by enrolling in paper-free solutions, an equivalent of nearly 1,000 trees. With financial support from CTS, ten thousand trees will be planted, bringing the program-to-date total to fifteen thousand.
"Tree planting and reforestation is an important contributor to sustainable development and has a multitude of benefits from combating climate change to supporting livelihoods of local communities. With Citi's support, we will plant 15,000 trees," stated Vi Agroforestry CEO Anneli Rogeman.
The trees will be registered on the global tree counter of Plant-for-the-Planet. In 2011, the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) put the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative in charge of this counter. "We children of Plant-for-the-Planet feel empowered by Citi's report of the trees to our counter. Tree planting is a very intelligent action because trees are the only 'machines' than can bind CO2," says Felix Finkbeiner, 14 year-old founder of Plant-for-the-Planet.
The CTS paper-free effort for institutional clients builds on similar successful consumer programs across the bank. Since 2008, Citi's global consumer credit card business has seen a paperless statement penetration rate grow to approximately 30% of its customers worldwide. In 2009, Citi Cards received the Arbor Day Foundation's Promise to the Earth Award for its support of tree planting programs through paperless statement initiatives.
Citi's commitment to environmental sustainability is part of its broader approach to Responsible Finance. Citi was also the first major U.S. bank to sign the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.