The UK Government wants the country as a whole to reach Net Zero carbon emissions. Gaining the support of the banking and finance sector is critical to reaching that bold but very important target.
As such a huge contributor to the UK’s economic output – 8.3% as of 2021 – banks and other financial institutions naturally come under detailed scrutiny. That scrutiny was previously related largely to financial affairs, but sustainability has become just as critical an issue for legislators and customers alike.
Because of this, the banking and finance sector must take meaningful action to reduce the emissions and non-renewable energy burdens of their operations. The best way to achieve that is to embed those actions into a wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, and this blog highlights the areas where technology can help.
The importance of ESG targets for banking and finance
The Government is paying particular attention to how the sector can operate more sustainably. In October 2021, it published a policy paper entitled ‘Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing’, promoting the idea that every financial decision should take climate change and the environment into account.
At the same time, the public is expecting all businesses that it deals with to take their moral responsibility around sustainable operations seriously. This attitude extends to investors, who increasingly check the green credentials of a financial body before deciding whether to get involved with them.
Because of this, making changes to operations in the name of sustainability can actually help financial institutions improve their economic performance. However, they should also consider the ESG risks and impact of their role as a lender to other companies, as well as their own activities.
Improving business efficiency through more sustainable processes
The digitally-driven banking landscape of today naturally demands large amounts of computing power, whether it’s for financial transfers or document handling. This means that IT is an area full of potential for finding efficiencies and reducing energy use through new solutions and automation. Here are just three of the many examples of what’s possible:
- Digital inbound mail: an expert provider can scan, index and electronically deliver all inbound mail directly to the intended recipient, or into a document or postal management solution. This can help remote workers get faster access to posted information, and enable a business to pursue a paperless strategy.
- Outbound hybrid post: similar to the previous point, a third-party solution can also handle the electronic transfer of outbound mail files to a secure, GDPR compliant printroom for printing and distribution. This reduces transportation demands on paper documents, while also providing flexibility as document distribution needs change.
- As-a-service IT asset consumption: at a time when financial firms require large numbers of devices and are regularly having to replace and refresh them, an as-a-service approach to asset procurement and management can help improve the sustainability of device lifecycles. Encompassing catalogue management, purchasing, configuration, delivery, maintenance, support and most importantly recycling, it allows banks to contribute to a green circular economy.
The key benefits for implementing sustainable processes
Beyond the obvious benefits of operating a greener financial institution, the move towards sustainable IT can be beneficial in a much wider range of areas, too:
- Better public perception: being able to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to sustainable operations can gain trust from the public, helping to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
- Lower operational costs: more efficient processes, supported by automation that can take care of repetitive actions, can help generate cost savings that can be reinvested elsewhere within the business.
- Increased efficiency: connected to the previous point, businesses can expand their technological capability through greater efficiency that helps them achieve more without increased investment.
- Improved talent retention and acquisition: more flexible technology and document services make it easier for employees to work from home or on a hybrid basis. This boosts employee experiences and makes the business more attractive to both existing and prospective employees.
When you partner with SCC for Document Services, you get access to comprehensive solutions and world-class expertise that can help you pivot towards sustainable IT for banking and finance operations. Explore our offering in more detail here.
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