Piraeus Bank's GREENbanking4Life achieves major targets

In an era marked by climate change and other environmental problems, safeguarding the planet and combating global warming is presenting a raft of practical challenges to businesses, governments and the general public alike.

In keeping with a long-standing commitment to social responsibility, Piraeus Bank, one of Greece's leading financial institutions, launched in October 2006 an ambitious 3-year initiative in an effort to meet those challenges — the "GREENbanking4Life" project. The Ecological Recycling Society, a Greek NGO, is a partner to this project.

Supported by the European Commission's LIFE ENVIRONMENT financial instrument, GREENbanking4Life aims at reducing the Bank's ecological footprint by improving energy efficiency, recycling, and bringing innovative green banking opportunities to its corporate and individual clients.

"The initiative also marks a 'first' for the EU, in that it is the first time that the LIFE ENVIRONMENT financial instrument has supported a bank in implementing its environmental policy," says Mr. Vrassidas Zavras, Head of Piraeus Bank's Environmental Department.

After two years, the project boasts some significant achievements:

  • Design and application of a novel management system that allows monitoring and analysis of the Bank’s operational environmental impacts.
  • Use of 390 tonnes of recycled and chlorine-free office paper. This alone saves 433 tonnes of carbon dioxide — equivalent to the CO2 absorbed by 9,500 trees.
  • Recycling of 155 tonnes of paper annually. Also recycling programmes for ink cartridges and batteries.
  • Recycling of 32 tonnes of electronic equipment in 2007, sparing the environment from 11 tonnes of aluminium and 2 tonnes of lead.
  • Design and launch of the first green banking products in Greece for investments in photovoltaic systems, green consumer and mortgage loans. Development and strengthening of green markets and green investments in Greece.
  • Raising awareness amongst employees on environmental issues and green business by means of an e-learning programme and weekly green news on the Bank's intranet.
  • The launch of the GREEN BANKING branch in Athens — the first of its kind in Greece and the Balkans. The purpose of the green branch is to promote, both among customers and the wider public, the opportunities provided by Piraeus Bank for investments in clean technologies and new services that are also beneficial to the environment.

By investing in renewable energy, Piraeus Bank prevents every year the emission of 540,000 tonnes CO2 into the atmosphere, an amount equivalent to the carbon dioxide absorbed by 80,000 hectares of forest.