I’ll admit it. I don’t make a conscious effort to be green. Sometimes I leave the bedroom light on. I put empty wine bottles in the trash. I use recycling bins if my apartment complex places bins outside, but if it doesn’t, I’m not going to drive around town looking for a facility. I even pay some of my bills via snail mail. (I know, I’m 29 and living in my own little Dark Age world).
I live alone, so I figure the waste I emit from my household has to be minor. When it comes to leaving appliances plugged in or lights on, my main concern is how high my electricity bill is going to be.
A headline on a news website caught my eye a few weeks ago, “Gen Y: Not So Green?” The article said according to a study recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Gen Y is not as environmentally conscious as older generations were in their younger days. Guess I’m not alone.
In some ways, going green is an overdone fad. When the green craze began, some people viewed it as an image-building activity instead of a genuine effort, like those families who displayed “Save the Planet” bumper stickers on their Lexus SUVs.
Many credit unions view going paperless, and therefore, green, as a top priority. They’re implementing and promoting electronic statement and bill pay services, remote e-signing services for loan documents and ATM and mobile deposit functionality. The planet may not be at the forefront of Gen Y’s thoughts. But even if young folks aren’t as environmentally conscious as many people thought they were, credit unions shouldn’t scale back on their own efforts to go green.
Here’s why. In the financial services world, green and convenient often go hand in hand. Setting up an automatic, online bill pay service saves paper, but it also saves members time. Using your smartphone to deposit a check or signing a loan document on your laptop at home saves paper and eliminates the need to drive to and from a branch, but it’s also a much faster, easier way to complete either of those activities.
For Gen Y, convenience is an important component of any financial-related activity. So while credit unions are fulfilling Gen Y’s need for convenience through various electronic services, they can make a positive impact on the environment as an added benefit.
Credit unions should continue to convey their concern for the environment, but they should also emphasize that earth-friendly financial activities can lead to speed, convenience and efficiency in members’ lives.
Gen Y probably won’t care if your headquarters building has solar panels on it, or if you put out a press release that describes how your staff members reduced their carbon footprints this year. But they will care if you go green and help make their days less hectic at the same time.