The path forward is paved with partnership and collaboration.
As we begin a sustainable recovery from the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, relationships matter more than ever. Drawing lessons from the global response to COVID-19, we know that our recovery will require collective effort. A sustainable future will take strong alliances and mutual support.
When I look at the leaders and believers among the environmental and sustainability organizations we work with today, I feel optimistic. Even in the face of incredible challenges, I see a story of determination, innovation, and positive change. It’s the story of a future that’s both inclusive and ecologically sustainable. It’s a story of people, businesses, and groups who are at the vanguard of protecting our planet.
Actions and values
Today, we are collaborating with a lot of organizations, including Protect Our Winters (POW), a leading climate advocacy group for the winter sports community. In January, Bank of the West became the first bank to be accepted as a member of POW. Mario Molina, POW’s executive director, encapsulated perfectly the synergy between his organization and our bank.
“POW aligned with Bank of the West because it is one of the only US banks taking action to combat climate change via sustainable financing policies,” Molina said when the relationship was announced.
At Bank of the West, we have policies in place to restrict or prohibit the financing of fossil fuels, big tobacco, palm oil, and other activities harmful to the planet. At the same time, we are working to finance projects that accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.
Soon, we will also empower our customers to track their own carbon footprints through our new 1% for the Planet checking account[i]. This first-of-its-kind offering will allow account holders to better understand the environmental impact of their purchases. It’s possible thanks to a web of mutually supportive relationships aligned toward a common goal of flattening the curve on global warming. Here’s how.
Bank of the West is the only major US bank to create an account in collaboration with 1% for the Planet, an international environmental organization encouraging companies to donate 1% of their revenue to protect our planet. As such, we will donate 1% of the net revenue from the new account to Protect Our Winters, a 1% for the Planet nonprofit affiliate.
This new 1% for the Planet account will be powered by a collaboration with the fin-tech company Doconomy. Doconomy’s software gives consumers the ability to learn more about the climate impact of their consumption by estimating the CO2 emissions associated with every transaction they make. Finally, thanks to a joint effort with Valid, our new 1% for the Planet account will come with a debit card that is made from 100% biodegradable plastic[ii].
We certainly don’t claim to be perfect or have all the answers when it comes to reversing climate change. But we do hope this might serve as an example of the type of collaboration that will help all of us move forward in a positive direction. As someone who has been in banking for more than a decade, I can say that earlier in my career this sort of collaboration did not exist.
Joining forces for a common goal
Alliances between sustainable organizations and a bank make all of us stronger. Positioned at the center of how money moves through our economy, banks have a vital role to play in building a sustainable recovery. But together we are capable of making a much greater impact than we would acting alone. That’s why we’ve joined forces with others taking action to create positive change in our world.
The Conservation Alliance does vital work to preserve ecologically important regions; it’s helped save 73 million acres of wildlands since 1989. Sustainable Surf and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance both marshal resources to protect the health of oceans. Fair Trade USA is fighting for human rights and social justice through ensuring just pay and working conditions for workers who make responsibly produced goods. And located just about an hour north of our own San Francisco headquarters, the annual Grounded Summit — despite having this year’s event canceled due to COVID-19 — connects many of the leading people and organizations working to reverse climate change.
These groups have been top of mind lately as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape life. Building the sustainable recovery we all hope to see won’t be possible without their work—and more importantly, without working together. Success won’t be easy, but I truly believe collaboration and mutual support will make it achievable.
1% for the Planet Checking Account Disclosures
1) 1% for the Planet Checking Account Disclosures[i] With 1% for the Planet with Any Deposit Checking the $10.00 monthly service charge is waived with one deposit of any amount each statement cycle. Deposits include direct deposit, mobile deposit, ATM deposit, or an in-branch deposit of any amount. Deposits do not include fund transfers between Bank of the West accounts or any credits from Bank of the West. Monthly service charge also waived if any account owner is under age 25.
2) The 1% for the Planet debit card is made from 100% compostable/biodegradable PVC, however, the EMV chip, magnetic strip, ink and hologram are not biodegradable.