Many people talk a good “green” game, but how many are really living up to all that talk? A new survey finds a huge number of people are not, but that perhaps banks can help.

Of more than 2,300 consumers surveyed, more than 75 percent said they still receive paper checking account statements, according to a report released by Javelin Strategy & Research. That adds up to a lot of waste. According to estimates made by the Pleasanton, CA-based firm, 687,000 tons of paper were created in 2006 from bills, statements and checks in the U.S.

Javelin believes that banks can play an important role in nudging customers—which the survey divides into greens, moderates and skeptics—into turning off paper and living up to their green ideals.

There are four “Es” when it comes to green banking, says Javelin. First, the bank needs to educate customers as to why green banking is necessary. Next, enable customers by offering check and ATM imaging and mobile channels. Then make it easy, perhaps by offering “green” credit cards that donate to green causes. Finally, be earnest; environmentalists are quick to sense deceptive “greenwashing.”

While green initiatives might be an easy sell for green-leaning individuals, the four Es are especially important for moderates—people who believe in going green, but need some prodding.

One surprising finding was how many greens want rewards for going paperless. Fully 44 percent of greens said banks should offer carbon credits to customers for reducing their use of paper statements. (c) 2008 Bank Technology News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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